Letters and Articles
Philadelphia ZOA Calls on Reps. Sestak, Fattah to Remove Names From Anti-Israel Letter to Obama
The Philadelphia Bulletin published an "Open Letter" to Congressman Joe Sestak sent by the Greater Philadelphia District of ZOA asking him to remove his name from a letter sent to President Obama calling for pressure on Israel regarding the Gaza Strip. Philadelphia ZOA sent a similar letter to Congressman Chaka Fattah.
Mr. Sestak, Please Show Support For Israel
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Congressman Joe Sestak and 53 other House of Representatives members sent a letter to President Obama asking Mr. Obama to pressure Israel to end its pseudo blockade of the Gaza Strip. While there was a perfunctory mention of Egypt, which also has a border with Gaza and whom the Gazans have not attacked, the members of Congress placed the blame for any "suffering" on Israel rather than Hamas or Egypt.
In response to this, The Greater Philadelphia District of the Zionist Organization of America writes an open letter to Mr. Sestak.
Dear Congressman Sestak,
We were surprised that you have added your name to a letter that not only slams an important friend and ally, but also calls on the president to meddle in the security needs of a sovereign nation and is heavy on falsehoods and distortions.
As a Navy veteran of more than 30 years, surely you understand that when the nation of Israel is attacked with incessant rocket barrages as it has been for 10 years by an enemy dedicated to its destruction - namely Hamas - it should not be expected to provide sustenance to that enemy and its supporters.
Yet, this is exactly what Israel is doing, allowing hundreds of truckloads of food, medicine, clothing and agricultural supplies into Gaza each week, and supplying fuel for heating and cooking and electric generators to the region. On Dec. 21, six advanced water desalination systems were transferred to the Gaza Strip. The transfer was coordinated by Israel's Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration in accordance with the civil state policy toward the Gaza Strip, which aims to give a continuous response to the humanitarian needs of the Gazan civilian population.
If that were not enough, Israel is allowing Gazans to export millions of dollars worth of flowers and produce. Of course, the Gazans destroyed the state-of-the-art farms and equipment that Israel left behind when it "disengaged" from Gaza in 2005.
Israel has allowed over 4,000 Palestinians from Gaza, together with 3,600 escorts, to enter Israel - or via Israel to the West Bank - for medical treatment last year alone.
Below are just the recent statistics for Israel's willingness to help Gaza. If Israel is attempting a "blockade," it is failing miserably.
Of Gaza Crossings
- Weekly summary of the Gaza crossings: Jan 10-16, 547 truckloads (11,450 tons) of humanitarian aid were transferred to the Gaza Strip via the Kerem Shalom cargo terminal and the Karni conveyor belt.
- 14 truckloads of strawberries and carnations were exported via the Kerem Shalom crossing.
- 2,128,858 liters of heavy-duty diesel for the Gaza power station and 570 tons of cooking gas were delivered via the Kerem Shalom crossing.
- 365 Gaza residents entered Israel for medical reasons and 96 humanitarian cases crossed via the Erez Crossing.
- Weekly summary of the Gaza crossings: Jan. 3-9, on Jan. 7, the Kerem Shalom crossing was closed due to terrorist missile attacks.
- 431 truckloads (10,251 tons) of humanitarian aid were transferred to the Gaza Strip via the Kerem Shalom cargo terminal and the Karni conveyor belt.
- 2,011,581 liters of heavy-duty diesel for the Gaza power station and 424 tons of cooking gas were delivered via the Kerem Shalom crossing. The Nahal Oz fuel depot is closed indefinitely.
- 359 Gaza residents entered Israel for medical reasons and 53 humanitarian cases crossed via the Erez Crossing.
Of Gaza Crossings
- Six more water desalination systems were transferred to the Gaza Strip.
- 15 truckloads of cellular communications equipment were delivered to the Palestinian mobile phone carrier, Jawal.
- Strawberries and flowers were exported.
- Renovations at Erez crossing were completed.
- Work continued at the Kerem Shalom crossing to improve the capacity of the fuel transfer facility.
- 1713 medical permits were issued along with 519 permits to celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem.
- 2654 Gaza residents crossed to Israel, the West Bank and the Allenby Bridge Crossing, and 169 Israelis crossed into the Gaza Strip for humanitarian reasons.
- Glass was brought in for home repairs and renovations in preparation for the winter.
- 750 tons of aggregate were transferred for maintenance of the North Gaza Wastewater Treatment plant.
Lest you still think that Gazans are actually living without life's necessities, Gazans have managed to smuggle in to the territory through hundreds of tunnel networks the following "necessities:" soda, cookies, Viagra, washing machines, motorcycles, gasoline, cement, live animals, vacuum cleaners, toasted sandwich makers, kettles, mixers, microwaves, steam irons, blenders, hair dryers, TVs and halogen heaters.
Need we remind you that Israel is not the only nation bordering Gaza. Egypt has severely restricted what leaves or enters Gaza.
Finally, why put the onus on Israel? Why would a country that provided heroic relief measures just this month in Haiti take Draconian measures against the people of Gaza? They wouldn't, except that by any measure, the people of Gaza - in word and deed - have repeatedly demonstrated their desire to see Israel eliminated. As soon as the rockets stop, as soon as the people of Gaza renounce violence, as soon as Hamas recognizes Israel's basic right to exist: You can be sure that Israel would gladly have an open border with Gaza as it did prior to Hamas' takeover of the region.
By signing onto this letter, you have aligned yourself with some of the most notoriously anti-Israel individuals and organizations in the country. Do you really want to be considered as an ally of such people?
We urge you to publicly repudiate this letter and remove your name as a signatory and, instead, issue a statement listing the above facts about Israel's support to Gaza. You would be doing a service to our country by letting the citizens know the truth about Israel's humanitarian gestures rather than abet an effort to besmirch the Jewish state.
A similar letter was sent to Congressman Chaka Fattah who also signed the letter.
The ZOA Greater Philadelphia District is the regions oldest pro-Israel education and advocacy organization.