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Middlebury College Graduate Loses Two Brothers in Gaza War Crimes;
US-Supported Israeli Forces Block Medical Aid

From the report of a National Lawyers Guild Fact-Finidng Delegation in the Gaza Strip:

On January 16th, Israeli forces shot at the jeep of Mohammed Shurrab, 64 years of age, and two of his sons, Kassab and Ibrahim, aged 28 and 18 as they were returning from their fields. Mohammad was shot in the left arm and Ibrahim was shot in the leg. The elder son, Kassab, sustained a fatal bullet wound to the chest, being shot multiple times after being ordered out of the car. Mohammad, bleeding from his wound, contacted the media, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and a number of NGOs via mobile phone in order to acquire medical assistance. Israeli forces denied medical relief agencies clearance to reach them until almost 24 hours after Mohammad, Ibrahim and Kassab had been shot. Earlier that morning, Ibrahim had succumbed to his wound and died. Mohammad Shurrab and his sons were shot during a so-called “lull” in Israeli ground operations, which Israeli forces had agreed to in order to allow humanitarian relief to enter and be distributed in the Gaza Strip. As such NLG delegates fail to see how this denial of medical access to the wounded Shurrab family could have been absolutely necessary and not simply arbitrary.

Democracy Now! Interviews Amer Shurrab:
Palestinian US College Grad Loses 2 Brothers in Israeli Shooting; Father Watched Son Bleed to Death After Israeli Troops Bar Ambulances

Amer ShurrabAmer Shurrab is a Palestinian from Khan Yunis and a recent graduate of Vermont’s Middlebury College. On Friday, his father and two brothers were fleeing their village when their vehicle came under Israeli fire. Twenty-eight-year-old Kassab died in a hail of bullets trying to flee the vehicle. Eighteen-year-old Ibrahim survived the initial attack, but Israeli troops refused to allow an ambulance to reach them until twenty hours later. By then, it was too late. Ibrahim had bled to death in front of his father. Amer joins us to tell his story. Part 1 - Part 2

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Senate Floor, January 28, 2009:

MR. LEAHY. Mr. President, we have all seen the photographs of houses, schools and other civilian infrastructure destroyed in Gaza, and the reports of civilian deaths, including over 400 children, and many thousands more injured. Behind each of these statistics is a story of a family tragedy. I want to take this opportunity to talk about one that has touched the lives of Vermonters, and which should cause each of us deep concern.

Amer Shurrab is a recent graduate of Middlebury College, which is located not very far from my home in Vermont. Amer is also a Palestinian, whose family was living in Gaza during the recent Israeli invasion. His father, Muhammed Kassab Shurrab, is a farmer who grows fruits and vegetables on a small plot of land.

On January 16th, Amer’s father and brothers were returning home with provisions from their farm during the 3 hour humanitarian cease-fire that was in effect that day. Although there was apparently no indication that the route was unsafe for a civilian vehicle carrying civilian passengers, Israeli soldiers fired from a civilian house at their car as it passed for reasons that remain unknown. In a panic, Amer’s brother, Kassab, already wounded, got out of the vehicle and was shot a total of 18 times and died a short distance away. Israeli bullets also hit Amer’s father and younger brother Ibrahim, who were unable to leave the car to get medical attention because Israeli soldiers refused to allow movement in or out of the area.

Muhammed tried everything he could to save his son Ibrahim, who was bleeding to death before his eyes. He phoned a hospital with his cell phone, but the hospital told him the Israeli Army was preventing an ambulance from reaching them. He called relatives, who contacted the Red Cross on his behalf to ask for assistance, but the Red Cross had to wait for assurance from Israeli authorities that an ambulance would get through unscathed, assurance which was not forthcoming. He spoke with several members of the press, including the BBC, who even broadcast his plea for help. But an ambulance could not reach them until 22 hours after the incident, even though the hospital was located less than a mile away. By this time, Ibrahim had died in his father’s arms. Israeli troops reportedly looked on and ignored Muhammed’s pleas for help.

This case cries out for an immediate, thorough, credible and transparent investigation by the Israeli Government. Any individuals determined to have violated the laws of war should be prosecuted and appropriately punished. In addition, it is important that the U.S. Embassy determine whether any Israeli soldiers who were equipped by the U.S. violated U.S. laws or agreements governing the use of U.S. equipment, both in relation to this incident and others involving civilian casualties. This should include the use of white phosphorous in heavily populated areas, which is alleged to have caused serious injuries to civilians.

Mr. President, this is a heartbreaking story. My thoughts and prayers go out to Amer Shurrab and his family and friends, and to the families of other civilians, Palestinian and Israeli, who died or suffered other grievous losses in this latest escalation of violence.

URGENT: Contact Your Representatives in Congress to Demand
an Immediate Investigation into the Deaths of Kassab and Ibrahim Shurrab
and Other Israeli War Crimes in the Occupied Gaza Strip!
Your message will have greater impact if conveyed by fax, phone call, letter, or telegram.
Senator Patrick Leahy
Web Site: www.leahy.senate.gov
E-mail: Contact via form on web site

Commend Senator Leahy for his statement demanding an investigation into the deaths of Kassab and Ibrahim Shurrab. Question his failure to oppose Senate Resolution 6, which endorsed Israel's recent aggression in the Gaza Strip.

Washington Office:
433 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-4502
Phone: (202) 224-4242
Fax: (202) 224-3479

Main District Office:
199 Main St., 4th Fl.
Burlington, VT 05401
Phone: (802) 863-2525

Senator Bernard Sanders
Web Site: www.sanders.senate.gov
E-mail: Contact via form on web site

Senator Sanders supported Senate Resolution 6, which endorsed Israel's recent aggression in the Gaza Strip.

Washington Office:
332 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-4503
Phone: (202) 224-5141
Fax: (202) 228-0776

Main District Office:
1 Church Street, 2nd Floor
Burlington, Vermont 05401
Phone: (802) 862-0697
Fax: (802) 860-6370

Congressman Peter Welch
Web Site: www.welch.house.gov
E-mail via Web Form

Congressman Welch Voted "Yes" on House Resolution 34, which endorsed Israel's recent aggression in the Gaza Strip.

Washington Office:
1404 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-4501
Phone: (202) 225-4115
Fax: (202) 225-6790

Main District Office:
30 Main Street, Suite 350
Burlington, VT 05401
Phone: (802) 652-2450

White House
Web Site: www.whitehouse.gov
E-mail: president@whitehouse.gov

President Obama endorsed Israel's recent aggression in the Gaza Strip.

Washington Office:
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, US 20500
Phone: (202) 456-1414
Fax: (202) 456-2461


Additional Resources:

The sites below provide services for sending e-mail, faxes, letters, petitions, and other communications to Federal officials. The Library of Congress' Thomas service is a search engine for Federal legislation and voting records.

Citizens for Fair Legislation
Congress.org
U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
Library of Congress: Thomas


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