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UNAC supports the Palestinians right to resist tyranny. We support the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against the state of Israel. Palestine solidarity activists in the United States must do everything we can to stop our own government's unconditional support for Israel's crimes against humanity. Without this support, Israel would not be able to maintain the ethnic cleansing and continuous land theft of the Palestinian homeland that has been unleashed on the Palestinians for more than 65 years.
UNAC applauds the will of the Palestinians to survive and to thrive and to maintain the optimism that one day Palestine will be free. In spite of daily hardships and repression (80% need food aid; 45% unemployed) - intensified as collective punishment for democratically voting for Hamas in 2006, and still trying to rebuild after the genocidal bombardments of "Operation Cast Lead" in 2008-09 - the Palestinians cling to their ancient land and continue to resist. As spoken word artist Rafeef Ziadah says, we don't teach our children hate; "we teach life!"
A ceasefire between Israel and Gaza has been announced after eight days of Israel's latest assault on the Palestinians held captive in the world's largest penal colony. More than 160 Palestinians, including dozens of children, women and elderly, have been killed and more than 1,100, also mainly civilians and children, have been injured. Civilians and vital infrastructure have been deliberate targets, along with journalists attempting to counter the claim of Israel's simply "defending itself".
While a halt in the current escalation is good news, it is only a temporary respite as long as the underlying cause is not resolved. The long-term issue is that Gaza remains under a brutal occupation and blockade and the violence before and after "ceasefires" is ongoing, with killings often unreported. There is a long history of ceasefire agreements, honored by the Palestinians, but broken by Israeli targeted assassinations and killings. There is also the harm that is done because Israel restricts food and medicines, contaminates the water, destroys infrastructure, and steals land. Generations of Palestinian children have been traumatized by Israeli violence with crippling impact; food scarcity and restrictions cause malnutrition and widespread growth-stunting anemia.
The war crimes committed by Israel are in full partnership with the United States. $3.1 billion dollars of U.S. taxpayers' money goes to Israel annually to sustain its illegal and brutal occupation of the Palestinians living under an apartheid, militarized regime and to threaten Iran. The money is used to buy American weaponry. In the past 10 years, almost 671 million U.S. weapons valued at $18,866 billion were delivered. In addition to full military and economic support, the U.S. uses its diplomatic power to shield Israel from the demands of the international community to adhere to international law and from any accountability.
The recent assault on Gaza immediately followed three weeks of joint military exercises involving thousands of U.S. and Israeli military personnel and costing more than $100 million. Part of the mission was to test the Iron Dome missile defense system paid for by the U.S. government, costing hundreds of billions of dollars. Wanting to test these systems in real life may have been one of the reasons for the deliberate triggering of the operation. "Make no mistake. The U.S. is 100 percent committed to the security of Israel. That commitment drives this exercise," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin. "These are very difficult days [which require] further bilateral cooperation in defense against future missile threats, as well as persistent operations against Hamas and the Iranian terror threat in Gaza, which is likely to intensify and expand," Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told reporters.
Both the U.S. and Israeli officials agree on this "partnership". The Obama administration was briefed just prior to the attack showing that this was a jointly orchestrated operation. According to Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, "This effort (attack on Gaza) could not have been concluded without the generous and consistent support of the American administration, led by President Obama." President Obama likewise stated that the U.S. is "fully supportive of Israel's right to defend itself" and the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution expressing its "unwavering commitment" to Israel.
At UNAC's founding conference in 2010, there was a debate about what position to take re: Palestine, Israel, and the U.S. For the first time, a large and representative gathering of peace and social justice activists took an unequivocal stand in solidarity with the Palestinians. By a strong majority vote, the conference adopted the demand that the U.S. end all aid to Israel – military, economic, and diplomatic -- and joined the BDS campaign against Israel. This represented a turning point for the American left and we are proud to have played a role in moving the struggle forward.
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|Dear Walter, |
Please join us Monday, December 3rd, to celebrate the inauguration and election victory of our new Mayor!
Bob Filner will be celebrating with communities all across San Diego as a thank you to everyone who volunteered, phoned, walked, supported the campaign, and voted on election day. Take a look at the day's schedule to find the event nearest you!
***Bring the whole family. Locations are subject to change. Reservations are not required for any of the events.***
Mayor-Elect Filner's Inauguration Ceremony
Balboa Park Club
2144 Pan American Road West
San Diego, CA 92101
~This ceremony is open to the public. Open seating is available.
~No RSVP needed.
~There will be a reception immediately following the ceremony.
Meet Mayor Filner at one of the Community Inaugural Celebrations:
2910 La Jolla Village Drive
La Jolla, CA 92037
5:00pm - 7:00pm ~ Mira Mesa High School Media Center
10510 Reagan Road
San Diego, CA 92126
6:30pm - 9:30pm ~ The Center
3909 Centre Street
San Diego, CA 92103
7:00pm - 9:00pm ~ Jacobs Center
404 Euclid Avenue
San Diego, CA 92114
8:00pm - 9:30pm ~ San Ysidro Multi-Cultural Center
4345 Otay Mesa Road
San Ysidro, CA 92173
Food, beverage, and entertainment will be provided at each of these exciting events so mark your calendars today!
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-- ----------------------- Ray Lutz Citizens' Oversight CitizensOversight.org 619-820-5321
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UNITED NATIONAL ANTIWAR COALITION
STATEMENT ON HURRICANE SANDY
AND GLOBAL WARMING
The hurricane Sandy disaster revealed much about inequality inherent in American society, and a government which is less and less willing or able to meet the needs of its citizens. Thousands of people in New York and New Jersey have waited days, in some cases weeks, to have electricity, public transportation and other needed services and infrastructure restored. Private utility companies proved themselves unable to provide power as they are licensed by the states and required to do. Residents of New York City public housing developments lived for more than two weeks without electricity, heat, or running water.
As in New Orleans, the residents, especially the poor, were last in the city government's priority list. Power was restored to the New York Stock Exchange quickly and the mayor wanted to use scarce resources to hold the annual marathon. The marathon was cancelled only after very vocal political and popular protest. The promotion of the finance and tourism industries took precedence over providing for the most basic needs of people.
In a nation which thinks of itself as advanced, two major hospitals, New York University and Bellevue, were forced to evacuate patients when back-up generators failed. The evacuations exemplified the ways in which local and state governments failed to coordinate emergency responses with communities residents and stakeholders such as in the health care field. This city which "never sleeps" came to a standstill because the subway system in a city surrounded by water was unprotected from the risk of a major flood. While "first responders" are and should be part of disaster planning, the planning is not extended to local communities and key stakeholders, which then must fend for themselves when first responders cannot come to their aid.
While city and state governments were unable to respond effectively to the crisis, wealthy, private organizations such as the Red Cross were promoted as reliable charities and received more than $100 million in donations from people anxious to help. They too proved inadequate despite the fact they did not lack for financial resources. The Red Cross did little with a lot, but Occupy Sandy did a lot with nothing. Occupy activists met the needs of desperate people where government, utilities and wealthy charities did not. If government had the will and intent to meet human needs and an interest in planning with communities, these charitable organizations and NGOs would be unnecessary in times of crisis.
While the suffering continues, the inevitable cry for privatization has already begun, with disaster capitalism always the winner when human beings are suffering. Calls to privatize transportation networks and public housing began before the winds stopped blowing. Appeals for federal disaster funding are politicized and met with intransigence in congress. There must be a unified demand that this natural disaster not be used as a pretext for cutting government services or turning them over to private interests. There must also be a demand for thorough and public investigations of government actions and the ways in which they did and did not work for people in the stricken areas.
It is the federal government which should provide for citizens' needs during large scale crises such as weather disasters. That is not possible when the U.S. military budget is larger than the military budgets of the rest of the world combined. Nor is it possible when the top 1% pay taxes at lower rates than the average working person. In the words of Occupy, "End the wars, tax the rich."
Those things that were done well since this tragedy began teach important lessons about activism. When politicians complained about the inadequate response from the Red Cross, they miraculously appeared. When the public and politicians demanded a cancellation of the New York City Marathon, they succeeded. When Occupy and Doctors Without Borders didn't listen to city officials or to FEMA and decided on their own to help people in need, they did so successfully.
While any single extreme weather event is hard to attribute to global warming, the latter dramatically increases the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. Today, the U.S. poses the greatest threat to the environment in human history. It leads, along with a handful of oil rich countries, in per capita release of greenhouse gases (and not far behind China in leading total emissions) and is determined to develop dirty unconventional fossil fuels such as tar sands, that would make the U.S. the world's largest oil producer in five years. In addition, the U.S. military is the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in the world.
The U.S. is especially responsible because of its active role to sabotage any binding international climate treaties and because the U.S., through its military might and its hegemonic wars and maneuvers around the globe to control the remaining natural resources, destroys the possibility for international cooperation to urgently address the global environmental crisis that threatens the very existence of our species.
Although it is already too late to totally reverse the damage that has been done, stopping the empire, restructuring our society to remove the profit-driven mandate, and redesigning our entire production and consumption so as to achieve low carbon and sustainability, is key to reduce future disasters like Sandy, among other grave threats like famine, diseases, and violence.
Natural disasters uncover what is already present in a society. Hurricane Sandy showed that government subservience to wealth and capital is a cause of great suffering in this country. The new lessons are the same as the old. There will always be catastrophes but there should be no expectation that an already failed system can save people from them unless there is a coordinated popular demand to make it so.
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