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JULY 23, 2002
7:18 PM
CONTACT:  Arab American Institute
Jeffrey J. Curley 202-429-9210
Arab Americans Challenge Bush Administration to Investigate Israel's Violations of Arms Export Control Act
WASHINGTON - July 23 - James Zogby, President of the Arab American Institute (AAI), reiterated the Institute's demand that the Bush Administration initiate an investigation of possible violations of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) by Israel in light of the recent killing and wounding of civilians in Gaza City. The Senate foreign operations appropriations subcommittee just approved $2.1 billion in military assistance for Israel for FY03, in addition to emergency and supplemental grants already made for Israel's participation in counter-terrorism activities.

"Israel has demonstrated once again that it is not interested in pursuing policies that build credible alternatives to violence in its relations with the Palestinians. As various leaders toil to reduce levels of violence, the Sharon government responds with this attack, and then routinely apologizes for the collateral deaths of 16 people and the wounding of more than 150 men, women and children. This is not what US arms are intended for, and Israel's continued violation of US statutes regarding the use of American arms is a shame on their government, and a shame on the Bush Administration whose words are not followed by actions. If President Bush seriously believes that this attack by an F-16 is "heavy-handed", then the U.S. should act to restrain such Israeli behavior."

Zogby noted that calling the casualties "collateral damage" did not exonerate Israel from guilt for the disproportionate violence of the attack. "This deliberate targeting of a building in a neighborhood populated by hundreds of innocents cannot be erased by calling them collateral damage. Palestinians are human beings, and just as we regret the loss of Israeli civilians and condemn the attacks against them, we mourn the mounting Palestinian casualties and condemn Israeli occupation policies that prolong the cycle of violence."

The Arab American Institute is a public affairs organization that promotes the political empowerment and participation of Arab Americans in the civic life of the United States.


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