- 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.