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CPD Condemns Israel's Murderous Attack on Unarmed Palestinians

Statement by the Campaign for Peace and Democracy
June 9, 2011

CPD Condemns Israel's Murderous Attack on Unarmed Palestinians

Twice now, unarmed Palestinians demonstrators and their supporters from the refugee camps around Israel, adopting the tactics of the Arab Spring, have challenged the Israeli occupation and their own historic dispossession by marching on Israel's occupation borders. And on both occasions, Israel has adopted the vicious tactics of the most ruthless Arab regimes by responding to these unarmed demonstrators with lethal force.

On May 15, Israeli officials hid behind the excuse of being unprepared for massive protests -- as if they couldn't read the same social media that the demonstrators used to organize their actions. Human Rights Watch reported: "In a too-familiar pattern, Israeli troops responded to stone-throwing youths with live bullets, with predictably deadly consequences. The evidence shows a disturbing disregard for protesters' lives."[HRW, " Israel: Investigate Killings During Border Protests; Troops Responded to Stone-Throwing With Live Bullets ," May 20, 2011.]

On June 5th, Israeli officials charged that the Syrian regime was responsible for the deaths because it didn't keep people away from the Israeli-controlled frontier fence. No doubt, Damascus was happy to divert attention from its own atrocities. But this doesn't negate the fact that Israel's brutal actions were morally unacceptable -- whatever Syria's motives might have been in allowing Palestinians to approach the territory that Israel has annexed in violation of Security Council and General Assembly resolutions. The demonstrators were killed in cold blood by Israeli snipers who were in no danger, acting on the orders of their superiors.

Washington too directed all its criticism at Syria. A State Department spokesperson declared: "we condemn what appears to be an effort by the Syrian Government to incite events and draw attention away from its own internal issues. … And I just would add that Israel, like any sovereign nation, has a right to defend itself." A reporter asked, "Even if the people are unarmed?" to which the spokesperson replied in full: "But again, this is clearly an attempt by Syria to incite these kinds of protests, and they [the Israelis] have a right to protect their -- this disengagement line." [U.S. Dept. of State, Daily Press Briefing (Mark C. Toner), Washington, DC, June 6, 2011]

The cruel and unjust Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories conquered in 1967 as well as of the Golan Heights must be ended. And so must U.S. support for the occupation.