CAIRO – An umbrella Muslim group in North America has appealed to US President Barack Obama to help restore peace in the Middle East, urging him to reinstate truce in Gaza broken by a series of aerial Israeli bombing on the besieged coastal enclave.
“We believe that the Obama Administration has the ability to stop the violence by acting swiftly and urging Israel to reinstate the ceasefire,” the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) said in a statement obtained by OnIslam.net.
“Our nation has a moral obligation to stop the violence and any and all violations of the ceasefire that brought relative peace in the area for the past 4 years,” ISNA said.
“ISNA continues to call all sides - Israeli and Palestinian - to cease violent actions and return to diplomacy to solve grievances.”
ISNA’s appeal followed the eruption of the latest Israeli attacks last Wednesday after Israel killed the head of Ezzedine al-Qassam Bridgades, Ahmed Jaabari, in an air strike.
Israel has said the strikes were only "the beginning" of an offensive targeting Gaza fighters and warned it may expand its activity.
Israeli planes also hit targets in northern Gaza, Rafah, Gaza City and east of Khan Yunis.
For the fourth day, Israel continued airstrikes on Gaza, as officials in Gaza said 38 Palestinians, half of them civilians including eight children and a pregnant woman, had been killed in Gaza since Israel began its air strikes.
Late on Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a four-hour strategy session with a clutch of senior ministers in Tel Aviv on widening the military campaign, while other cabinet members were polled by telephone on increasing mobilization.
Political sources said they decided to more than double the current reserve troop quota set for the Gaza offensive to 75,000. It did not necessarily mean all would be called up.
The umbrella Muslim group urged Americans to pray for peace and pressure the US administration to end violence.
“If our nation does not take immediate action,” said ISNA Secretary General Safaa Zazour, “we fear that not only would many more innocent lives be lost.
“But that the violence could have a lasting negative impact across the entire region.”
Arab, Muslim Support
Along with ISNA, a galaxy of US Muslim and Arab-American civil rights, community and advocacy organizations have called on Obama to demand that Israel restore the ceasefire that it broke with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
"We urge President Obama not to sit on the sidelines as American taxpayer-funded weapons are used to kill civilians -- including babies -- and to destroy the civilian infrastructure in Gaza,” the groups said in a statement obtained by OnIslam.net.
“Our nation's blind support for Israel's brutal actions has done and continues to do immense harm to America's image and interests in the Middle East and worldwide.”
The coalition, including American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), American Muslim Alliance (AMA), American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) and Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), regretted the deaths of civilian.
The signatories also included Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Muslim American Society (MAS) and Muslim Legal Fund of America (MFLA).
"We regret the death or injury of any civilians on either side of this tragic conflict,” the statement said.
“It is time to tell Israel and the world that Palestinian blood and property are just as precious as that of Israelis.
“Until the core issue of justice for the Palestinian people is addressed by our nation and by the international community, we will no doubt witness endless repetitions of these senseless cycles of violence.
“America must not be party to this violence, either through action or inaction.”
This peace, however, cannot be restored without putting an end to provocations which sets the region on fire, ISNA noted.
“Peace cannot be negotiated as long as violence ensues, and the region has already suffered far too much bloodshed,” ISNA statement added.
“Provocation on one side only leads to retaliation from the other, and all efforts must be made to prevent further devastation on either side.”
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