The full text of the letter from Rep. Dennis Kucinich to President Obama follows the AFP story below
A US lawmaker called Friday for an independent probe into Israel’s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship and called for Washington to impose diplomatic and financial “consequences” on its ally.
“The US can begin by calling for an independent international inquiry of the Mavi Marmara incident. The integrity of such inquiry necessitates that it not be led by the nation whose conduct is under scrutiny,” Representative Dennis Kucinich said in a draft letter to President Barack Obama.
The message, which Kucinich was circulating to colleagues for their signature before sending it to the White House, urges Obama to “call Israel to an accounting for its conduct in planning and executing” the raid.
“The attack on the Mavi Marmara requires consequences” for Israel’s government, the Democrat said. “Those consequences must be dealt by the United States. They must be diplomatic and they must be financial.”
Israel has defended both its right to carry out the Monday raid and its punishing blockade of Gaza, which is ruled by the Islamist movement Hamas. The group is blacklisted in Washington as a terrorist group.
Kucinich, who earlier this year introduced legislation calling for a full withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, also called for Washington to “begin to redefining its relationship” with Israel.
“No one questions the right of Israel to defend its border, but that defense does not extend to shooting innocent civilians anywhere in the world, anytime it pleases,” said the lawmaker.
Kucinich called the raid “an act of belligerence against Turkey” and warned it “undermines” US efforts in Iraq, which rely on Turkey granting access to key air bases on its soil.
The Ohio lawmaker noted that said Washington views Israel as “our most important ally in the region, whose survival is a primary concern” but that the Jewish state had failed to uphold its end of the bargain.
“Israel owes the United States more than reckless, pre-meditated violence waged against innocent people,” he charged.
A spokesman for Kucinich said that, with the US Congress in recess this week, he would not be releasing how many lawmakers had signed on to the tough message, an unusually sharp criticism of Israel at a time when other lawmakers have pledged to stand by the US ally.
Turkey’s ambassador to Washington, Namik Tan, expressed disappointment Friday that the United States had thus far failed to condemn Israel outright over the raid, which left nine pro-Palestinian activists dead.
“There is no word of condemnation at any level,” he said, insisting “the US should have been the first party to condemn.”
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
Israeli commandos, acting at the direction of the State of Israel, attacked and seized a Turkish ship in international waters, in the Mediterranean Sea.
At least nine were killed in the incident aboard the Mavi Marmara. Hundreds of civilians were taken into custody and goods were confiscated. Since the United States considers Israel our most important ally in the region, whose survival is a of primary concern, it is incumbent upon the Commander in Chief to call Israel to an accounting for its conduct in planning and executing the deadly military attack in international waters upon a peaceful flotilla carrying citizens from over 50 countries.
The State of Israel’s conduct, attacking a Turkish ship in international waters, constitutes an act of belligerence against Turkey, which at one time Israel considered an important ally. It also undermines United StatesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ troops efforts in Iraq, since your administration’s efforts to achieve stability in the region and to withdraw troops from Iraq has depended upon Turkey’s cooperation through use of its air bases.
In its violent commando raid on the Mavi Marmara, the government of Israel showed no concern as to how its conduct may affect the lives of defenseless, innocent people, its friends and allies, and in particular the United States. The United States must remind Israel as well as all of our other friends and allies:
It is not acceptable to repeatedly violate international law.
It is not acceptable to shoot and kill innocent civilians.
It is not acceptable to commit an act of aggression against another U.S. ally.
It is not acceptable to continue a blockade which denies humanitarian relief.
It is not acceptable to heighten tensions in a region while the United States continues to put so much blood and treasure on the line.
The State of Israel’s action necessitates that the United States, which is Israel’s partner in the region, begin to redefine its relationship and to establish such boundaries and conditions which are sufficient for mutual respect and cooperation.
It is incumbent upon Israeli officials to bring forth the truth about the planning for and the attack upon the Mavi Marmara.
No one questions the right of Israel to defend its border, but that defense does not extend to shooting innocent civilians anywhere in the world, anytime it pleases.
Israel must account for our support, for the lives of our soldiers, for the investment of billions from our taxpayers. Israel owes the United States more than reckless, pre-meditated violence waged against innocent people.
The attack on the Mavi Marmara requires consequences for the Netanyahu Administration and for the State of Israel. Those consequences must be dealt by the United States. They must be diplomatic and they must be financial. The U.S. can begin by calling for an independent international inquiry of the Mavi Marmara incident. The integrity of such inquiry necessitates that it not be led by the nation whose conduct is under scrutiny. If our nation fails to act in any substantive way, the United States licenses the violence and we are complicit in it and our own citizens will be forced to pay the consequences.
We the undersigned deeply regret the loss of life. We are also fully aware of the dangers to world security which exist in the region, which is why the United States has been unstinting it its defense of Israel. We have a right to expect that Israel not add to those dangers with military conduct which all people of good will know is neither defensible nor moral. There must be consequences for such conduct. We await your response.