Dec 29 2008
NLG Condemns Israeli Massacre of Gazans MWC NEWS
The National Lawyers Guild Condemns Illegal Israeli Massacre of over 300 Gazans, Calls for Ceasefire and Urges Participation in Protests
Contact: Marjorie Cohn, NLG President, marjorie[at]tjsl.edu; 619-374-6923
Radhika Sainath, NLG Free Gaza Committee, radhika.sainath[at]gmail.com, 917-669-6903
New York. The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) condemns Israel's massive bombardment of the Gaza Strip which has left over 300 dead and 1,400 wounded, with the tolls mounting. The Israeli Air Force dropped more than 100 bombs in dozens of locations throughout the Gaza Strip as children left school on Saturday. The dead include men, women and children in school uniforms.
"International law forbids the targeting of civilians," said Radhika Sainath, a civil rights attorney and member of the Free Gaza Committee of the NLG. "Israel must comply with laws of war and the Fourth Geneva Convention." Today's massacre marks an escalation of Israel's two-year blockade of the Strip which has deprived 1.5 million Palestinians of necessary food, medicine, fuel and other necessities. In November 2008, the United Nations stated that it had run out of food to feed over 750,000 needy Gazans.
Israel claims that the attack is in response to Palestinian rocket fire, which caused no recent Israeli deaths and few injuries. However, Israel's "rolling bombardment" and impending ground invasion is grossly disproportionate in light of the minimal damage caused by Palestinian rockets. “The law of war prohibits collective punishment and the targeting of a civilian population disproportionate to military necessity. Israel has flouted both these prohibitions, that follow its illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and its sealing of Gaza, subjecting Gazans to near starvation,” said Marjorie Cohn, NLG president and a professor of international law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. “The Human Rights and Security Assistance Act mandates that the United States cease all military aid to Israel, which has engaged in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.”
Israeli military spokesman Avi Benayahu stated that the Israeli bombardment of Gaza was "only just the beginning," showing utter contempt for international norms and the lives of innocent Palestinians. The Guild calls on the entire international community, and the United States in particular, to demand an end to Israel's blockade of the Occupied Territories and its murderous assault on the Palestinian people. We urge everyone to join in the demonstrations planned across the country in opposition to this latest attack on the rule of law by Israel and we call on both sides to immediately reinstate the cease fire.
Founded in 1937 as an alternative to the American Bar Association, which did not admit people of color, the National Lawyers Guild is the oldest and largest public interest/human rights bar organization in the United States. Its headquarters are in New York and it has chapters in every state.