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Kucinich Calls for U.S. to ‘Redefine’ Ties With Israel Following ‘Act of Belligerence’

Most of the lawmakers already weighing in on Israel’s deadly raid against an international aid flotilla headed for Gaza have come out squarely in support of Israel’s decision. Not Rep. Dennis Kucinich.

The Ohio Democrat began circulating a letter to colleagues on Wednesday condemning the attack in no uncertain terms, saying the raid “constitutes an act of belligerence against Turkey” and “undermines United States’ troops efforts in Iraq.”

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.

Kucinich is calling for the United States “to redefine its relationship [with Israel] and to establish such boundaries and conditions which are sufficient for mutual respect and cooperation.”

The full letter follows:

June 2, 2010

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 States’ 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.

Sincerely,

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