Reparations for the damages done to UN headquarters in QANA

Open Letter to President Bill Clinton

Dear Mr. President:

As I listened to the news on NPR this morning, I was deeply dismayed (but, sadly, no longer amazed!) to learn that you have now vetoed yet another UN Resolution, this one calling for the State of Israel to pay reparations for the damages done last spring (1996) to the UN headquarters in Qana in southern Lebanon.

Mr. President, is there nothing which touches your conscience? Is there no inhumanity too great for you to stomach, no brutality so grotesque that you find yourself compelled to cry out "Stop!"? Is there no action, no matter how violent, no matter how injust, that will compel you to speak out for the human rights of innocent civilians, whoever they may be and whatever national group they may represent, against the violent powers which assault them? Is there no action, however heinous, which can move you to challenge the moral "blackmail" being carried out by the State of Israel against the other nations of the world?

Mr. President, the bombing of the UN headquarters in Qana in southern Lebanon by the Israeli Defense Forces was an act worthy of no civilized nation! And the reported words of one of those responsible for that bombing in response to the information that the headquarters was full of refugees--"They're just Arabs!"--bears out the ugly inhumanity, the horrifying racism, and the brute viciousness of that act.

Mr. President, this is no action that the US government should be supporting in any way or at any level, publically or privately! This is an action from which we should distance ourselves firmly, unambiguously, publically! And you, Mr. Presdent, are our national spokesperson! You are the one whose voice needs to be heard denouncing this cruel and cynical action taken by the Israeli Defense Forces! You are the one whose voice needs to be heard challenging the policies of the State of Israel which gave rise to this atrocity! You are the one whose voice needs to be heard saying "NO!" and "NEVER AGAIN!"

In Jerusalem last spring, shortly after the atrocity at Qana had taken place, I participated in a commemorative march carried out by the Armenian community in Jerusalem. This march, an annual event, commemorates the Armenian genocide carried out by the Turkish government early in this century (and never yet acknowledged by the Turks!). At this event I saw a sign which read, "POLITICAL INTERESTS BLUNT HUMAN CONSCIENCE."

Mr. President, it appears obvious to me from your response to this latest UN Resolution that political interests have indeed "blunted" the conscience of the US government! Your support of the State of Israel in this matter is a clear sign that political alliances carry far greater weight with you and the government which you represent than any concerns for human rights and any attention to matters of human justice! I am deeply ashamed that my identity as an American citizen and my American tax dollars are in any way associated with an act this heinous! And I know that there are thousands, perhaps millions, more Americans out there like myself, persons who are also ashamed of the part our government has played in supporting the violent tactics of the State of Israel vis-a-vis innocent Arab civilians (whether within its own borders or beyond).

I APPEAL TO YOU, Mr. President, to listen to your heart, and to your conscience, and to take immediate and unambiguous steps to distance the US government from this brutal and inhumane action carried out by the Israeli Defense Forces against defenseless refugees! Do not let political interests continue to "blunt" the collective "conscience" of the American government! Do not shame us as a nation by offering moral support and political cover to those who carry out human rights atrocities! Give us reason to be proud that we are citizens of a nation which truly stands for justice for those who are oppressed all around the world!

Awaiting your reply and your actions on behalf of justice!

Sincerely,

Dorothy Jean Weaver

7 Village Square Harrisonburg,

VA 22801

(540) 433-3336 (home)

(540) 432-4276 (office)