This week the Seattle Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild issued a statement urging Councilmembers to sign on to my letter calling on President Obama and Congress to denounce the violence in Gaza. See their statement below, and check out my letter here.
August 8, 2014
To the Seattle City Council:
The Seattle Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild urges you to support Council Member Kshama Sawant’s letter calling on President Obama and Congress to issue a formal statement denouncing Israel’s siege and blockade of Gaza, along with the occupation of the West Bank, and calling for an end to all U.S. government military aid for Israel. Council Member Sawant’s letter commits Seattle to support basic principles of international law by condemning Israel’s bombing campaign that has left schools in ruins and hundreds of Palestinian children dead.
Seattle already has a “foreign policy” in Palestine/Israel – a policy that is biased in favor of Israel. Since 1977, Seattle has had a “sister city” relationship with Beersheba (or “Be’er Sheva”). Beersheba was an Arab town that was slated to be in the Palestinian state that was supposed to be established by the 1947 Partition Plan. In October 1948, Israel conquered Beersheba and many of its inhabitants were forced to flee, losing their homes to Israeli immigrants. Many of the refugees from Beersheba ended up in Gaza in refugee camps, where they (and their descendants) are now the victims of further Israeli military actions.
The Seattle Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild calls on the Seattle City Council to restore balance to Seattle’s present policies by: (1) immediately cancelling the existing sister city relationship with Beersheba because of Israeli human rights violations, (2) immediately establish a sister city relationship with a refugee camp in Gaza, and (3) vote for Kshama Sawant’s letter and send it to our sister city in Beersheba so that the people of that town know that we (as their sister city) oppose their government’s actions.
Jenn Kaplan, Val Carlson, Amanda Schemkes, & Linda Jansen
for the Seattle Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild