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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

MPAC Interfaith Vigil for Gaza: Los Angeles Jan. 27th



(Washington, DC - 1/22/08) -- The Muslim Public Affairs Council announced today that it will hold an interfaith vigil for the 1.5 million residents of the Gaza Strip, who are suffering from collective punishment by Israel's decision on January 17 to cutoff fuel supplies, which has worsened an already critical humanitarian crisis.

WHAT: Interfaith Vigil for Gaza Strip Victims

WHEN: Sunday, January 27 at 6pm

WHERE: Islamic Center of Southern California

WHO: Rev. Dr. Gwynne Guib

Rabbi Steven Jacobs

Dr. Maher Hathout

WHO: MPAC echoes the statement issued yesterday by the United Nations, which criticized Israel for the developments in Gaza stressing that while the Palestinian rocket attacks are wrong, Israel's response "cannot be a retaliation."

Israel closed all crossings into Gaza last week, preventing the delivery of vital humanitarian supplies as well as fuel to the Gaza power station. This had international aid workers warning of a crisis if necessary goods were not delivered in time. As of today, however, Israel is allowing the transfer of limited quantities of fuel, medical, and food supplies to Gaza. This move follows mounting international pressure and criticism of Israel’s harsh policies to guarantee its security at the expense of Palestinian suffering.

"It's the mothers of Gaza who are suffering, not the militants, in the dark," John Ging, Director of the U.N.'s Relief and Works Agency in Gaza, said yesterday. Ging warned that UNRWA would be forced to stop food distribution to hundreds of thousands of Gaza residents within days if the lockdown continues.

The Gaza Strip suffers from skyrocketing unemployment and poverty, and lacks medicine, fuel, electricity, food and other essential commodities. It is virtually cut off from the rest of the world.

The only doctrine that can mitigate Israel's occupation and provide a path for Palestinians and Israelis to emerge from this bloody conflict is international humanitarian law.

The United States should wield its influence to compel Israel to agree to an immediate end to its occupation without any preconditions and without holding any more Palestinian lives hostage to a final-status solution yet to be negotiated. Without such action, the integrity of President Bush's recent pledge to reach a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians is subject to great international discredit.

Founded in 1988, the Muslim Public Affairs Council is an American institution which informs and shapes public opinion and policy by serving as a trusted resource to decision makers in government, media and policy institutions. MPAC is also committed to developing leaders with the purpose of enhancing the political and civic participation of Muslim Americans.

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