News Release

Gaza Crisis

YONATAN SHAPIRA
BASSAM ARAMIN
ELIK ELHANAN
Currently in Washington, D.C., Shapira was a captain in the Israeli Air Force as a Black Hawk pilot. In 2003 he wrote a noted “Pilot’s Letter” refusing to serve in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Aramin is a former Fatah fighter who served seven years in jail from the age of 17 for planning an attack against Israeli soldiers. One year ago his ten-year-old daughter, Abir, was shot in the head and killed by Israeli border police as she left school near East Jerusalem. They are founding members of Combatants for Peace and have just begun a U.S. speaking tour to educate the U.S. public about the Israeli occupation and advocating for a non-violent resolution to the conflict.

Also available for interviews is Elhanan, a military refuser who was a soldier in the Israeli military from 1995-98. In 1997 his sister was killed by a Palestinian suicide bomber in Jerusalem. He is now pursuing a Ph.D. in Middle East studies at Columbia University.
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MOHAMMAD OMER
A freelance photographer and journalist, Omer writes the Rafah Today blog from southern Gaza, near the crossing with Egypt. His most recent piece is titled “So Many Tragedies in Such Little Time” and features graphic photos from Gaza.

Dr. MONA EL-FARRA
A physician and community activist in northern Gaza, El-Farra writes a blog titled “From Gaza, with Love.”

AMJAD SHAWA
Shawa is the Gaza coordinator of the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations’ Network. The group released a statement yesterday: “The Israeli occupying forces have imposed a total siege over 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza including preventing the supply of essential food, electricity and fuel.

“Meanwhile, as this humanitarian crisis develops, Israeli forces are conducting ongoing killings, assassinations and air attacks. … All aspects of civil life and its basic necessities have now been paralyzed — surgical operations and medical aid are suspended at hospitals, whilst raw sewage is spilling into the streets, forewarning of an impending humanitarian and environmental catastrophe. …

“The Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations’ Network urgently appeals to the international community, including the United States of America, as sponsor of the recent peace initiative, to shoulder its legal, ethical and moral duties to place pressure on the Israeli occupying authorities to end the illegal siege of 1.5 million civilians in the Gaza Strip. …”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167