June 11, 2007- These legislative visits were arranged through END THE OCCUPATION website.
Senator Burr’s office
This was listed on the contact website as a meeting at 8:30, but the actual meeting was due to start at 9 AM. I did this so that the group would have a chance to meet ahead of time to discuss issues and strategies. Unfortunately, I got a little lost on the way to the meeting and got there at 8:45. I contacted Bob at 8:30 to say I was running late, and he said Mary was still parking the car. There were five other people there for the meeting, so Kevin Hernandez, the aide to Senator Burr went ahead and started meeting with the other people, since they thought the meeting started at 8:30. Bob, Mary and I were there at 9 AM and when we found out that Mr. Hernandez was already in a meeting, we asked to join them, since I was pretty sure that it was the meeting that I had scheduled.
This was unfortunate that it worked out this way, and I will not list a prior meeting time without instructions again. I apologize to the whole group for this miscommunication.
So, I was considerably late for the meeting and Cheri will be providing the group with talking points and will be writing a letter to Mr. Hernandez. I will follow up also, but she has a more complete report than I do. This is my notes from the part of the meeting I attended. (I have not received a report from her, but if I do, I will update this blog post.)
There were a total of eight people there: Cheri, Bob, Mary, Miriam, Dick, myself and two others whose names I do not have at this time. I told Mr. Hernandez that I would get some documentation to him on the
The group told me that they had covered the cluster bomb issues and discussed legislation around this. They also told me that they covered the appointment of a special envoy to the
The meeting at Senator Dole’s office was with her aide Mr. Arjun Mody. Present were Bob, Mary, Mariam, Dick, Cheri, myself and Beth. Beth had gone to the training that morning provided by United for Peace and Justice on lobbying. Beth had also just returned from a visit to the
We started by listening to Mr. Mody tell us what Senator Dole’s positions on
We had some discussion around Senator Feinstein’s bill (S. 594) which is the Cluster Munitions Civilians Protection Act of 2007. The group felt that US aid to Israel should be contingent on the stopping the use of cluster bombs, and we talked about how the cluster bombs used in Lebanon were marked “made in the USA” and how that just increases hatred towards America without any benefit to us at all. The issue of cluster bombs related to the Arms Export Control Act and the Foreign Assistance Act. We discussed how we feel that the
We felt the money we give to
We discussed Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions (ICHAD) and how they have their
I discussed the website “Remember These Children” and expressed the opinion that all the adults who participated in killing of either Israeli or Palestinian children should be in prison. This is a horror that must be stopped. I also discussed how desperate people will do desperate things, and presented the examples of Iraqi children building bombs to support their families and an Afghan father who said that he would join the Taliban because his children are starving.
I said that the
Beth told about the checkpoints that cut off Palestinians off from healthcare and their olive groves. They are building settlements over the aquifer, and often the wall cuts in to keep access to water on the Israeli side. Often times the 30 foot high wall completely surrounds a Palestinian town that is completely inside of the
Miriam went on to say that we have to change the politics in the area to make the future possible for Palestinian and Israeli children. We need to dialogue to achieve peace.
The final meeting was with Mr. Sean O’Brien, the aide from Rep. Shuler’s office. Beth and I attended this meeting, and it was the most positive meeting of the day. We voiced our support for HR 143, the appointment of an envoy for
I said I would get him information on the
At all three of the offices I visited today, I left a pile of postcards about the
AFTERWARDS, Beth and I went to the FCNL building and took a short tour. It is a beautiful building. It is located just across from the Senate office buildings.
Follow-up letter to Dole (similar letters to Burr and Shuler):
June 14, 2007
Dear Mr. Mody,
Thank you for meeting with our group on Monday concerning Israeli and Palestinian issues. I know that Cheri will be writing a more formal letter that will cover the talking points we presented and actions that we would like Senator Dole to take, but I wanted to take a minute to say thank you also.
I do hope we can make positive, concrete steps to secure the stability of the area in non-violent means. This is why I think sending more arms to Fatah is an extremely poor idea, since this will lead to more bloodshed and violence in the area, and that will make any settlement between
I have enclosed a few articles on the sending of arms to Fatah. There is more information on the web. There was one incident where Hamas intercepted a shipment to Fatah from the
A presenter at the US Senate Committee on Intelligence meeting on June 12, 2007 told the Senators that the Hamas government has denounced al Qaeda and it’s terrorists tactics. The Hamas government does not want to be associated with bin Laden or al Qaeda at all, per her research and report.
Thank you again for meeting with us. I have included a pin of a peace dove made in
FOLLOW UP: I did deliver information on the fact that US authorities are arming and funding Fatah in