ASSEMBLYMAN ANDERSON URGES LEGISLATURE TO SUPPORT ISRAEL
By Miriam Raftery
January 27, 2009 (Sacramento)-- Assemblyman Joel Anderson (R-El Cajon), has introduced Assembly Concurrent resolution (ACR) 10, California's Resolution to Stand with Israel. The move has drawn praise from backers of Israel and criticism from supporters of the Palestinians.
"It's vital that we stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel as they defend themselves from terrorists," said Anderson, who introduced the measure on January 13th.
ACR 10 resolves that the Legislature supports Israel's right to seek peace and security for its citizens, the prime obligation of any government and we stand with Israel.
In addition to ACR 10 Anderson created a web site: "Californians Stand with Israel," www.californiansstandwithisrael.com, to tally support and keep citizens updated and informed.
Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in August 2005. Anderson's website states that "Since then the terrorist organization Hamas has launched more then 6,400 rockets from Gaza, terrorizing the civilian population of Southern Israel. As a surrogate of Iran, Hamas not only terrorizes Jewish and Christian populations around the world, it has been brutal to the Muslim Arabs living in Gaza and across Israel. Hamas has declared it will not stop its rocket attacks on Israel."
Anderson states that "ACR 10 will send a message that Californian's oppose terrorism not just when aimed at the United States, but will support our friends and allies when they are the target of brutal terrorists attacks."
The Republican Assemblyman, whose district includes most of East County, spoke at a "Stand with Israel" forum at Fresno's Cornerstone Church in mid-January. "He understands what Hamas is all about. He understands that we need to pull our money out of terrorist governments," said Pastor Jim Franklin.
But others have voiced concern over Anderson's measure.
"The war on Gaza that started on December 27, 2008 has been one of the bloodiest episodes in recent military history," said Waleed Arikat, executive director of Muslim American Society Freedom, San Diego Chapter ( http://www.massandiego.org/). "More than 1300 Palestinians have been killed and more than 5,300 have been injured during 22 days. Most of these have been civilians, including 415 children, 110 women, and 115 elderly," he said.
Arikat called the war "the latest stage in a long list of attacks by Israel on the Palestinian people, including a 19-month siege that has strangled Gaza and destroyed the economy," and said that war crimes have been documented and will be presented to the International Court at the Hague for possible prosecution of Israeli generals and politicians. He faulted the Bush administration for funding weaponry for Israel, including fighter jets, helicopters and chemical weapons.
"It is our duty as U.S. citizens to demand that our tax dollars not be used to kill innocent Palestinian civilians," concluded Arikat, who called for a lifting of the blockage and opening of border crossings to allow humanitarian aid and supplies into Palestine. Long-term, he believes that "any solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must end Israel's military occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem," as well as occupation of the Gaaza Strip and establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
In an editorial published in San Diego Jewish World at http://www.jewishsightseeing.com/#bryen , Shoshana Bryen, special projects director for the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, defends Israel's action.
"What is a civilized country to do when terrorists hiding amidst their own people fire ever-increasing numbers of ever-increasingly long-range and precise rockets into your civilian towns and villages? Or, "What is a civilized country to do when a terrorist organization backed by a large, wealthy revolutionary country (Iran) announces that it will no longer honor a ceasefire previously honored largely in the breach anyhow, and the terrorists announce they will increase the frequency and range of the rockets and then proceed to do so?" she writes. "Because while Israel was not retaliating, Hamas was making increasing headway in targeting Israeli towns and infrastructure, one might ask, "How long should Israel put the safety of Palestinian civilians, not on a par with its own civilians, but ahead of its own?" And, in the end, one might ask, "How long could Israel ignore the evident unwillingness or inability of Egypt to prevent the smuggling of increasingly lethal weaponry into Gaza?"