Open letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell

Dear Secretary Powell,

I am writing to express my deepest opposition to the United States continued support for and participation in Israeli attacks against Palestinian civilians in the occupied territories.

As you are aware, Israeli occupation forces have carried out massive demolition operations against Palestinians in Shu’fat, north of occupied Jerusalem, and in Rafah in the occupied Gaza Strip. These are only the latest direct attacks on civilians, which have once again set people fleeing from their homes as those homes and all their possessions are destroyed and men, women are children and left without shelter in their own country.

Many civilians have been injured as the occupation army used live ammunition against those who were attempting with the totally inadequate means at hand to exercise their full and unequivocal right to defend themselves against the occupation army’s attacks. Most of the victims, as refugees from earlier Israeli aggressions, are not suffering this fate for the first time.

Secretary Powell, your spokesperson’s statement that these Israeli actions “are provocative and undermine relations between the parties,” is utterly wrong and should be withdrawn forwith.

These are not “provocations.” They are war crimes, and clear violations of the Fourth Geneva Conventions and numerous UN Security Council resolutions. They are a gross attack on the human rights and dignity of the victims, and deserve to be termed nothing less.

The Israeli actions do not “undermine relations between the parties,” because the relation between the parties is one between occupier and colonizer on the one hand, and an indigenous people struggling to remain on their land on the other. The only actions that would “undermine” such a relationship—and properly so—are those that would help bring a swift and complete end to the occupation, and full rights for the Palestinian people.

By failing to clearly condemn the Israeli actions for what they are, the United States gives a green light to further atrocities and ethnic cleansing operations. By continuing to supply Israel with the funds, and weapons which are used against civilians, the United States is a full and active participant in these operations, and must accept full responsibility for them.

The same is absolutely true of your purported opposition to Israel’s extra-judicial executions of Palestinians. Your statements to this effect are totally undermined by the fact that many of these killings have been carried out with US-supplied Apache helicopters, in violation of US as well as international laws. The death squads who carry out kidnappings and killings are trained with U.S. funds, and likely use US arms.

I as a U.S. taxpayer share—against my will—in the responsibility for these atrocities, but I pledge to continue to do all that it is in my power to do using all the legal means available to expose and defeat those who support these policies.

I urge you to join me and others in that struggle, and work with us to end this injustice and U.S. participation in it.


Ali Abunimah
of Chicago, Illinois, writing from Amman, Jordan