Israel's ground offensive has reached the cities of Gaza and more and more civilians are dying: it's way past time to end this war. With 270,000 signatures for a ceasefire already — including yours — our momentum is growing, we've contacted many international leaders and ceasefire initiatives are beginning.
But there's still no end to the violence, and outrageously, the US is obstructing a fair ceasefire at the United Nations — so we need to raise an even bigger outcry, seeking face-to-face meetings with Security Council powers to deliver our petition as well as taking out ads in influential US newspaper the Washington Post before Barack Obama takes office.
The more of us come together to sign the campaign, the more powerful our voices will become. If you haven't already, please take a moment to forward the link and message below to ten people who might be interested in signing the petition. Delivering half a million signatures this week would really make an impact– http://www.avaaz.org/en/gaza_time_for_peace
The bloodshed in Gaza is escalating — the death toll now stands at over 600 people and rising, almost half of them civilians and over 100 children dead. As Israeli tanks, airplanes and artillery bombard thickly populated urban areas, hitting UN schools yesterday, thousands more have been injured and 1.5 million terrified civilians have no escape from this prison-like enclave — the borders have been sealed. Hamas continues to fight and fire rockets deep into Israel: 11 Israelis have died, including from friendly fire.
Our worldwide call for an internationally-guaranteed ceasefire to protect civilians on all sides has begun to ring out loud and clear, winning the support of leaders in Europe, the Middle East and beyond, with hopeful outlines of a deal emerging from Turkey, Egypt and others. But Israel is rejecting a truce for now and escalating its offensive, while US President Bush is blocking a negotiated UN ceasefire, trying instead to impose a skewed alternative that could legitimize Israel's suffocating isolation of Gaza.
Enough is enough: these civilian deaths can't go on, and we can't let Bush and co block a fair, negotiated ceasefire. 250,000 of us have signed the petition, let's make it half a million — we'll publish it in a hard-hitting ad in the Washington Post and deliver it in meetings with UN Security Council members — follow the link below to see the ad, sign the petition, and forward this message to all your friends and family:
Our efforts really can make a difference — Israel's own foreign minister admits that international pressure, if intense enough, could ensure a ceasefire. As the international community debates and delays, civilians are dying by the day. The top UN official in Gaza says, "There's nowhere safe in Gaza. Everyone here is terrorized and traumatized." Opposing a United Nations resolution, Bush reportedly proposes to exclude Hamas from any ceasefire deal and leave Israel a free hand, something that would guarantee that the violence continues. That's why we're targeting incoming President Obama and US decision-makers, as well as the European Union and other international leaders, to pursue a fair and stable resolution.
To be lasting, a ceasefire must protect civilians and end all attacks — Israeli bombings and incursions as well as the rockets Palestinian factions fire into southern Israel. International supervision is desperately needed at the borders, to reopen Gaza's borders and crossings for food, fuel, medicine and goods, to prevent weapon-smuggling which has only grown under the blockade, and to monitor and enforce the ceasefire on both sides.
Hamas, which won elections in 2006 and now runs Gaza, suggests it will agree to such a ceasefire. It should be challenged to live up to its word just like Israel. There is no military solution for either side — it's time for world powers to step in, advancing a fair deal to protect civilians on all sides and let them live their lives in peace and security. Sign the petition now at the link below and send this message to everyone you know — we'll publish it in The Washington Post and elsewhere, and seek face-to-face meetings to deliver the petition with the Obama team, the UN Security Council and European leaders:
With hope and determination,
Paul, Graziela, Ricken, Luis, Alice, Brett, Ben, Iain, Paula, Veronique, Milena and the whole Avaaz team
P.S. We wrote to European, US and Arab leaders last week about our campaign, and received responses — now we need to escalate the pressure. For a report on many of Avaaz's other campaigns so far, see:
1. Associated Press: "Israel Shells Near UN School, killing at least 30" (5 January 2009)
2. "Gaza: outlines of an endgame", Ghassan Khatib (6 January 2009)
Al-Jazeera: "Arab ministers hold UN ceasefire talks" (6 January 2009):
Associated Press: "Diplomats seek truce as civilian toll rises" (5 January 2009):
3. Israel Today: "Israel rejects European, UN efforts for immediate ceasefire" (5 January 2009):
Yediot Aharonot: "Israel examining international treaty to isolate Hamas" (5 January 2009)
4. These parameters are advocated by a broad range of experts and policymakers. See for example International Crisis Group's Ending the War in Gaza report (5 January 2009):
5. Reuters: "Hamas seeks truce but says lifting siege a must" (5 January 2009)
Strikingly, the US Army War College has just released a substantial report supporting the view that Hamas can and must be brought into negotiations and is capable of sustaining a long-term truce, or even peace with Israel. Linked via:
The inside story of the civil strife between Fatah and Hamas and the Bush administration's involvement in this debacle is best-told in The Gaza Bombshell, an investigative article published in the leading US magazine Vanity Fair in April 2008:
This news item from November 2008 provides more background to the story of how the Israel-Hamas truce collapsed:
Avaaz.org is an independent, not-for-profit global campaigning organization that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people inform global decision-making. (Avaaz means "voice" in many languages.) Avaaz receives no money from governments or corporations, and is staffed by a global team based in Ottawa, London, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Buenos Aires, and Geneva. Call us at: +1 888 922 8229 or +55 21 2509 0368
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