Monday, May 22, 2006
Call Your Representative-Vote on HR4681 Tonight
TAKE ACTION: House Votes TODAY on Palestinian Sanctions
Do you think that Palestinians should be subjected to draconian sanctions for voting?
If not, then we NEED you to please pick up the phone TODAY and call your Representative because the House is voting tonight, Monday, May 22, on HR4681, the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006.
Call the Capitol switchboard today toll-free at 1-888-355-3588 and ask for your Representative, or call them directly by looking up their numbers on our Congressional Report Card. Even if you've already contacted your Representative before on this issue, please call again today!
If you've ever doubted your ability to have an effect on your Representative, here is some tangible proof that your efforts are paying off:
* Every Member of Congress has received a fax from the US Campaign of a petition signed by more than 330 US-based organizations opposed to HR4681.
* Despite intense arm-twisting and hysterical emails from AIPAC, close to 140 Representatives have refused to co-sponsor HR4681. AIPAC has even acknowledged the intense grassroots opposition to this bill. In an email to their supporters, AIPAC states that "Around the country the opponents of this bill are engaging in grassroots activism in opposition to it and it is important that Congress hear from the bill's supporters."
* Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN-4) has banned AIPAC from her office until it apologizes for equating her committee vote against HR4681 to "support for terrorists". In a letter to AIPAC, Rep. McCollum states that "During my nineteen years serving in elected office, including the past five years as a Member of Congress, never has my name and reputation been maligned or smeared as it was last week by a representative of AIPAC."
* Reps. David Price (D-NC-4), Lois Capps (D-CA-23), Ray LaHood (R-IL-18), and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3) issued a Dear Colleague letter against HR4681. These Representatives criticized the bill on the grounds that it "would prohibit all assistance to the Palestinian people, other than narrowly-defined categories of humanitarian aid (excluding, for example, education and economic development)."
* Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA-7) entered a scathing critique of HR4681 in the Congressional Record in which he asked "And what can we expect if we turn our backs on the real and growing humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people? It doesn't make sense to put restrictions on funding the NGOs that provide the Palestinian people with hospitals and schools. As a medical doctor, I am gravely concerned about the fate of millions of innocent Palestinians who rely on international aid for food, health care, and for developing their economy and businesses. Recent news reports say that international sanctions are preventing hospitals in Gaza from providing dialysis machines for patients, and they may not be able to supply immunizations to children. The World Health Organization sees a 'rapid decline of the public health system.....towards a possible collapse.' This bill will only make the already dire situation even worse. As a doctor I took an oath to heal. As a nation, we took an oath to lead. Allowing innocent Palestinians to go hungry, while denying them medical treatment cannot possibly correct injustice, or lead to peace."
* Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3) submitted an additional view to the House International Relations Committee report on HR4681, calling it "the wrong answer to a most difficult challenge."
Please pick up the phone today and make sure that your Representative knows that her/his constituents oppose sanctioning the Palestinian people for voting. Call today: 1-888-355-3588
WHY IS HR4681 SO IMPORTANT?
HR4681 is the most draconian sanctions bill that Congress has EVER considered imposing against the Palestinians. The anti-Palestinian sanctions in it include:
* Restricting US humanitarian aid and potentially eliminating entire US aid projects, such as infrastructure and small business development;
* Threatening to withhold a portion of US dues to the United Nations because it maintains bodies that advocate for Palestinian human rights and seek to hold Israel accountable to international law;
* Defining territory controlled nominally by the Palestinian Authority as a "terrorist sanctuary", thereby requiring US businesses to obtain special export licenses for most goods destined for the Occupied Palestinian Territories and gutting the provisions of the US free trade agreement with the West Bank and Gaza;
* Refusing visas to members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and the Palestinian Mission to the UN, even those who belong to political parties that the United States does not classify as "foreign terrorist organizations";
* Restricting the movement of PLO diplomats at the United Nations and threatening to close the PLO's office in Washington, and;
* Instructing the US representative to the World Bank to use the considerable strength of the United States in international financial institutions to vote against the continuation of humanitarian aid projects.
CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE TODAY: 1-888-355-3588