Action: Sponsors Sought for U.S. Citizens to be Evacuated from Gaza

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/12/2009) – CAIR today issued a call for American sponsors willing to assist families of U.S. citizens who may be evacuated this week from the Gaza Strip.

SEE: U.S. Preparing Evacuation of 150 Americans

State Department officials tell CAIR that some of the almost 150 potential evacuees do not have family members in the United States.A number of those seeking evacuation are non-citizen parents of young American-born children. CAIR is calling on individuals and relief groups to offer support. Potential sponsors would have to provide all the needs of evacuees for a period of six months, demonstrate financial ability and submit an I-134 “Affidavit of Support” form.

CAIR has been seeking State Department assistance in evacuating two American children, ages six and three, along with all the other Americans in Gaza. The father of the two children said bullets fired from an Israeli tank hit the family home in Beit Hanoun on Saturday. He said his brother’s nearby two-story home was destroyed today by the Israelis.

The death toll from Israeli attacks on Gaza has topped 900, with many women and children among the dead and more than 4000 injured. In its attacks, Israel has denied access to wounded civilians and has targeted homes, schools, mosques, universities, medical and United Nations personnel, a hospital, and a church. A leading human rights group has accused Israel of using white-phosphorus munitions in its attacks on civilian areas.

SEE: 1 Dead, Dozens Injured in Gaza by Suspected White Phosphorus Munitions
SEE ALSO: Gaza War Comparable to Sabra and Shatila Massacre: Medics (AFP)
Israeli Missile Reduces Church-Backed Hospital to Rubble

The United Nations’ top human rights official said Friday that the Israeli military may have committed war crimes in Gaza.

SEE: UN Human Rights Chief Accuses Israel of War Crimes
SEE ALSO: Gaza “No Place for Civilians”: ICRC (Reuters)
UN Human Rights Council Condemns Israeli Military Action

ACTION REQUESTED:

Potential sponsors must be willing to provide all of the needs of the evacuees for a period of six months. Sponsors would also have to demonstrate the financial ability to sponsor and submit an I-134 “Affidavit of Support” form.

Those who are willing to meet these strict requirements should send an e-mail to:[email protected]

Israeli Bullets Hit Home of American Children Trapped in Gaza

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/12/2009) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reported today that Israeli bullets hit the house of two American children trapped under bombardment by Israel in the Gaza Strip.

CAIR has been seeking State Department assistance in evacuating the two children, ages six and three, along with all the other Americans in Gaza. Friends of the family contacted CAIR seeking help. (Photos of the family are available from CAIR.)

Reached by phone in Gaza, the father of the American children said bullets fired from an Israeli tank hit the family home in Beit Hanoun on Saturday. He said a nearby two-story home owned by his brother was destroyed today by the Israelis. The father, who graduated from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., said he has recently been contacted by American officials about a possible evacuation.

In a response to a letter CAIR sent January 7 to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the State Department said that an evacuation is being planned this week for almost 150 American citizens and their family members trapped in Gaza. Officials say 16 American citizens were evacuated on January 2. American sponsors are also being sought for those evacuees who may be brought to the United States. A number of potential evacuees are non-citizen parents of young American-born children.

“We call for the immediate intervention of the Bush administration to demand that Israel stop its attacks on civilian areas so that all the American citizens facing death in Gaza can be safely evacuated,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “Each day the evacuation is delayed means another day in which U.S. citizens might be injured or killed by American taxpayer-funded weapons in a brutal campaign supported by our own government.”

He said citizens of many other nations, including Canada, Russia, the Philippines, Ukraine, Denmark, Austria, Norway, Romania, and Sweden have already been evacuated from Gaza.

Hooper noted that the death toll from Israeli attacks on Gaza has topped 900, including many women and children. In its attacks, Israel has denied access to wounded civilians and has targeted homes, schools, mosques, universities, medical and United Nations personnel, and a church. A leading human rights group yesterday accused Israel of using white-phosphorus munitions in its attacks on civilian areas.

SEE: Israel Accused of Using White Phosphorus in Gaza (Reuters)

The United Nations’ top human rights official said Friday that the Israeli military may have committed war crimes in Gaza.

SEE: UN Human Rights Chief Accuses Israel of War Crimes

CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.