News Release

· Israel’s 40-Year Occupation · Palestinian Civil War? · USS Liberty


Currently in New York City, Dr. El-Farra is a physician and human rights activist from Gaza. She just began her first U.S. speaking tour. She writes the blog “From Gaza, with Love.”
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Co-founder of the Gaza Community Mental Health Program and editor-in-chief of Amwaj magazine, El-Nounou said today: “There has been no real withdrawal from Gaza; Israel is still basically occupying it, bombing buildings, withholding taxes, preventing freedom of travel and import and export of goods — Gaza is being suffocated. The occupation is damaging not only to the Palestinians, but also to the Israelis and to the people in the United States. The Palestinian unity government has proposed a reciprocal and simultaneous ceasefire. So far the Israeli government has refused this.”

Co-founder of Clergy for Peace, Milgrom is a U.S.-born rabbi who has lived in Israel since 1968. He said today: “Beyond the politics, there is a massive humanitarian tragedy unfolding in the occupied territories. A part of that is Israel taking Palestinian land and demolishing Palestinian homes. We are working to helping rebuild those homes; we just rebuilt the home [U.S. activist] Rachel Corrie was trying to protect when she was killed by a U.S.-made Israeli army bulldozer [in 2003].”

The Financial Times reports: “A new [United Nations] map of the West Bank, 40 years after its conquest by Israel in the Six Day War, gives the most definitive picture so far of a territory in which 2.5 million Palestinians are confined to dozens of enclaves separated by Israeli roads, settlements, fences and military zones.” [Full article]

El-Nounou and Milgrom are on a brief tour in the United States. They will be speaking at a protest in Washington, D.C. this weekend that is calling for an end to the Israeli occupation. [Details]. Baranski-Walker is executive director of the Rebuilding Alliance.

Professor of international law at the University of Illinois, Boyle is author of Palestine, Palestinians and International Law. He writes in his most recent piece: “Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stated [Tuesday] that the Palestinians were on the verge of a civil war — as if he had nothing to do with it, in contrast to his predecessor. … Israel and the United States are still doing everything humanly possible to promote a Palestinian civil war by means of arming, financing and encouraging comprador Palestinian surrogates toward that diabolical end.” [Full article]

Peck, a former ambassador who was chief of mission in Iraq and Mauritania, also served as deputy director of the White House Task Force on Terrorism in the Reagan administration. He will be among the speakers at a June 8 service at the Navy Memorial Plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue at 4 p.m, to honor the 34 Americans killed in the two-hour attack on the USS Liberty by Israeli air and surface forces 40 years ago.

Peck said today: “As difficult and traumatic as it has been, the truth about the death of [Pat] Tillman by American friendly fire has come out. But the deadly assault by Israel on the USS Liberty, which resulted in the death and wounding of 200 American servicemen, has never been publicly examined. The bloodiest naval action since WWII, with 70 percent casualties, has been wrapped in the decades-long silence imposed on the survivors and reinforced by the continued inaction of the [U.S.] government. Surely the dead and their families, as well as the survivors and theirs deserve better; surely they all have waited long enough.”
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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