Israel Foreign Minister Livni in DCJanuary 16, 2009
On my way to work this morning, I noticed a brief mention in the paper that Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni will meet with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today. After doing some more research, I realized that Secretary Rice was again not intending to address Israel’s disproportionate attacks on civilians. We sent her a letter today to reiterate our concerns about ongoing human rights violations by both Israel and armed Palestinian groups.
While Amnesty International recognizes Israel’s right to defend itself and has also called on Hamas and other Palestinian groups to immediately cease all unlawful attacks, Israel does not have a right to use disproportionate force, target civilians or civilian buildings. In the recent conflict, there has been growing evidence that Israel has failed to adhere to the principles of distinction and proportionality in its military actions. Yesterday’s bombing of the UN compound in Gaza City was only the most recent example for that. The US government as a strong supporter of Israel and a provider of military equipment should have a louder voice in speaking out on the issue of protecting civilians in Gaza – unfortunately it continues to fail to do so.