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Remembering Dr. King's Message and the Injustices in Palestine

January 19, 2009

Michael Phelps Wins Gold We are here today to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, and to show support for the innocent people of this world who still suffer because of injustice, inequity and the illegal violations of their human rights. But do not confuse their innocence with weakness. They are not weak.

For a woman, coping with the death of her children takes strength that we must support. For a child, to retain hope for a secure future after everything he relied on has been taken away, takes courage we have always admired. And for a family, to rebuild after everything they worked so hard for is destroyed, takes resilience that demonstrates the best in human nature. We know the Palestinians, they are you, they are me, they are us. We are here to tell those people that we stand with them through it all, because, in the words of Dr. King, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Israelís actions are indisputably violations of its obligations under international law. Its targeting of UN workers and the supplies they use to provide humanitarian assistance is illegal. Israelís strikes upon dozens of ambulances, schools and places of worship violate the 4th Geneva Conventions. Its indiscriminate killing of over 1,000 civilians Ė about 350 of which were children Ė according to UN reports, is a repulsive violation of humanitarian law. The siege that it had imposed on Gaza for years, the silent aggression that devastated the entire population and only let in enough supplies to just barely stave off famine and disease, legal experts have concluded that this siege constitutes collective punishment in violation of the 4th Geneva Conventions. And letís not forget the wall that human rights advocates have described as apartheid, and that the International Court of Justice advised was illegal.

As of yesterday, despite Israel agreeing to a unilateral ceasefire, Israel Defense Forces were still conducting operations in Gaza, in violation of the UN Security Council.

There are rules, there are laws, even in times of war. And to abandon those laws during tumultuous times is nothing short of barbaric. Israel does not have free reign to be brutal, and the people of the world must stand in support of the victims of this barbarity. This world will hold Israel accountable for the flagrant disregard for the value of innocent human life that it has displayed over decades.

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