News Release

* Gaza “Disengagement” * Ruling Against Taking Medicine to Iraqis


Abunimah is founder of the Electronic Intifada. He said today about the Gaza “disengagement” plan: “This is a giant theater piece designed to convince the world that Israel is taking steps towards peace, that it’s making enormous sacrifices. I have no doubt that there are settlers who genuinely don’t wish to leave Gaza; let’s remember they have been put there by the Israeli government. The extremist racist ideology expressed by many settlers has been encouraged and incited for decades by the Israeli government. … During the period that Israel has been talking about destroying 2,000 settler homes in the Gaza Strip, it has been building more than 6,400 settler homes in the occupied West Bank. … The settlers who have been enjoying the resources of Gaza for decades are receiving massive compensation packages of up to half a million dollars per family. … Israel is maintaining the occupation in the West Bank, and in Gaza they are simply moving the occupation to the edges. Palestinians in Gaza will not be free.”
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Currently attending a conference of the peace group Women in Black, in Jerusalem, Sharoni is blogging as she travels in the region. Participants in the conference today held a vigil against the annexation wall that Israel is continuing to build, which cuts through the occupied West Bank. The wall was found to be illegal by the International Court of Justice last year.
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Kelly is co-founder of Voices in the Wilderness. On Friday, U.S. Federal District Judge John Bates ordered payment of a $20,000 fine against the group. Kelly said today: “Voices was fined for bringing medicine to Iraq in a classic campaign of open nonviolent civil disobedience to challenge the economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the U.N. against Iraq. … Judge Bates agrees that it was lawful and proper for the U.S. government to deny needed drugs and medical supplies to Iraq’s most vulnerable citizens, despite the evidence that several hundred thousand innocent children were dying because of brutal economic sanctions.

“Voices will not pay a penny of this fine. The economic sanctions regime imposed brutal and lethal punishment on Iraqi people. The U.S. government would not allow Iraq to rebuild its water treatment system after the U.S. military deliberately destroyed it in 1991. The U.S. government denied Iraq the ability to purchase blood bags, medical needles and medicine in adequate supplies — destroying Iraq’s health care system.” Kelly’s recently-released book is titled Other Lands Have Dreams: From Baghdad to Pekin Prison. The group will hold a news conference Tuesday in Chicago.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167