Calls for International Protests, Immediate Lifting of Siege and Censure of Israel’s
Genocidal Actions

New York. The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) deplores the Israeli cutoff of fuel and other supplies vital to human health which has caused the current humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The NLG calls on the international community to protest these actions and for Israel to lift the siege on Gaza immediately. The Guild urges the Secretary General of the UN, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, to call on the Security Council to resolve to end the siege. The NLG also calls on the governments of the world, and in particular the American government and the European Parliament, to censure Israel’s actions and to cut off all aid to Israel in the face of this genocidal action.

More than 1.5 million Palestinian people living there are suffering from life-threatening shortages of food, medicines, fuel and other vital necessities, caused by the Israeli military’s sealing-off one of the most densely populated areas of the world. Gaza City is blacked-out at night, including hospitals. Doctors must examine patients by candlelight. Sewage plants have been shut down, raw sewage has been flowing in the streets and at least 30% of the people have no water. Israeli actions particularly threaten children and the sick. At least 45 hospital patients have already died and premature babies are in mortal danger.

Israel has maintained a severe siege on the people of Gaza since Hamas won the parliamentary elections in January 2006. Israel tightened the siege in June 2007 when Hamas gained military rule in Gaza, and declared it an enemy entity. Gaza has been virtually locked down for all of this period causing tremendous suffering.

In the last few weeks, the cutoff of fuel and other necessities have reached genocidal implications. The National Lawyers Guild agrees with the conclusions of Prof. John Dugard, the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories who called the Israeli government’s actions “serious war crimes” for which its political and military officials should be prosecuted and punished. The Israeli government’s blockade of Gaza violates, according to Dugard, “the strict prohibition on collective punishment contained in the Fourth Geneva Convention. It also violates one of the basic principles of international humanitarian law that military action must distinguish between military targets and civilian targets.” The actions by Israel are acts of aggression. Israel’s claim to be acting in self defense must be rejected as subjecting 1.5 million people to this siege is out of proportion to any actions by Palestinians who are in reality trying to defend against Israeli military incursions.

The crisis is growing more severe by the day. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and the World Food Programme, which together supply food to more than two-thirds of the population, have stated that unless the blockade is lifted they will be forced to stop operations by this weekend. A cutoff in aid would threaten an already food-deprived population with mass starvation. The great majority of Gaza residents are from refugee families, driven out of other parts of Palestine when the state of Israel was created in 1948.

The Israeli government’s decision to punish Gaza’s civilian population, with all the human suffering that entails, constitutes State Terrorism against innocent people. Only when Israeli policy-makers are held accountable for their actions and international law is upheld will a just peace be possible in the Middle East.

Contact: Marjorie Cohn, NLG President,, 619-374-6923
Jeanne Mirer, NLG International Committee,, 212-473-8700
Heidi Boghosian, NLG Executive Director,, 212-679-5100, ext. 11


The Guild urges its members to send letters of protest for demanding a lifting of the siege to:

Professor Daniel Friedmann
Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
29 Salah al-Din Street
Jerusalem 91010, Israel
Fax: +972 2 628 7757 / +972 2 628 8618
email: /

The Guild supports the world-wide demonstrations called for on January 26-26. Among the cities where emergency protests will take place are:

Washington DC: Friday, Jan. 25 (time tba), at the Israeli Embassy, 3514 International Dr. N.W.

San Francisco, CA: Friday, Jan. 25, 4 6 p.m., Israeli Consulate, 456 Montgomery St. (near California)

Anaheim, CA: Saturday, Jan. 26, 1 p.m. 512 S. Brookhurst St. (Bet. Orange Ave. & Broadway)

New York, NY: Saturday, Jan. 26, 1 p.m., at the Israeli Embassy, 43rd St. and 2nd Ave.

Chicago, IL: Tues., Jan. 29, 5pm at the Lakeshore Theater, 3175 North Broadway (at benefit for the Friends of the Israeli Defense Force). Initiated by ISM, endorsed by ANSWER and others. Call 773-463-0311 for more information.

Seattle Demo: Friday, January 25, 4 p.m., Westlake Park, 4th & Pine Sts.