I am Miriam Thompson, a member the Triangle Branch of Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom, Jews for a Just Peace NC and part of a growing number of local Abrahamic faith leaders seeking a just and secure peace for Palestinians and Israelis.

Gaza is in the news, but seldom will you hear in the mainstream media that our government gives $3.1 billion military aid to Israel, in violation of our laws that forbid use of that aid against civilian populations.  $3.1 billion gives our government, our President, leverage to intervene not only to help assure permanent ceasefire brokered by Egypt,  but to condemn Israel’s savage and disproportionate bombing of Gaza.  Already the bombing has caused hundreds of civilian death and injuries in Gaza and the toll rises. 3 Israelis are reported dead from Hamas rockets.

Our government has leverage to end Israel’s brutal siege of Gaza’s 1.7 million people – a siege that Israel has imposed since Hamas was democratically elected in 2006.  80% of Gazans need food aid, 45% are unemployed, economic development has been disrupted by the Israeli blockade. Further fueling the crisis was Israel’s recent assassination of Hamas Military leader, Ahmed Jabari.  Known to Israeli intelligence, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that Jabari was poised to negotiate a permanent cease fire brokered by Egypt and was instrumental in securing the release of an Israeli soldier.

Our government needs to hear our voices that demand not only a permanent cease fire in Gaza, but an end to the blockade, an end to the Occupation, an end to Israeli land expansion through its building of  illegal settlements and demolishing  Palestinian homes.  Israel’s actions with the support of our U.S. tax dollars endanger its security, democracy and world standing. Our voices must call for bringing the $3.1 billion war dollars home, including right here in Orange County to secure funding for our pubic schools, build affordable housing, expand health care services and early childhood programs. Please call and get others to call the White House comment line at (202) 456- 1414,  the State Dept. at (292) 657-4000, and Congress members and Senators at (292) 225-3121, and call or write media outlets to tell the whole story. For more information go to www.trianglewilpf.org where you can find other important news links.