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PEACE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE CENTER STATEMENT

ON PROPOSED SYRIA ATTACK


What the president is proposing is an act of war, and illegal since international law says only the UN can intervene militarily. If the US accepts that the use of chemical weapons is a violation of international law, any response by the US also has to stay within a legal framework. Instead of further escalating the conflict by an illegal war, we urge the government to use all available means to press for a thorough investigation through the International Criminal Court in The Hague.


Additionally, we oppose any military attack on Syria because:


1) It will not help end the civil war, but only make it more deadly - even the refugee crisis has grown worse in recent weeks because of the fear of US bombs. And it is sure to make the brutal dictator Assad seem like a hero. A US military attack will make it much harder to pursue negotiations toward a ceasefire and thus only prolong the civil war. We should listen to members of the Syrian opposition who oppose US military intervention.


2) There are non-violent ways to help the refugees and stop the violence: We should pressure Russia and Iran to stop supplying Assad with more deadly weapons, and we should pressure Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf dictators to stop supplying the rebels with more deadly weapons. We should support the efforts of joint United Nations/Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to start a political process. And we can increase our aid for the refugees.


3) The US has no moral standing to act without the UN in this: the US used chemical warfare itself by using depleted uranium and white phosphorus on Falluja, Reagan defended Saddam Hussein when he used poison gas on Iranian troops in 1984, and Iraqi towns in 1988, and Vietnam is still recovering from napalm and Agent Orange. The US and the UK are both producers and sellers of these very chemical weapons. The US continues to refuse to sign the ban on land mines, and is even now selling 641 million worth of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia.


4) There is enormous danger that bombs will cause dispersal of the terrible chemical weapons and make them even harder to identify and control. This happened in the 1991 US attack on Iraq and US soldiers and Iraqis are still suffering the effects.


5) In addition, we like most people in the US, want to see our resources going to rebuilding our country and fixing our massive environmental and social problems.


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Statement of the Palestine Study Group

          

We are a secular group that includes Christians, Muslims and Jews who wish to see a Middle East where Palestinians and Israeli Jews can live in peace and freedom. We take no position on what form this will take, whether two states or one state. We do call for the end of the occupation of the land conquered by Israel in 1967: the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. We do call for equal rights in Israel. We also call for acknowledging the right of Palestinians to return to the homes and villages they lived in before the expulsions of 1947-49.

 

This is not a call to expel Israelis who have moved into the homes of the 750,000 Palestinians that were expelled, or to destroy what has been built over the remains of those 500 villages. But we do call for recognizing that this remains an injustice under the internationally recognized right of return of refugees. We believe that a compromise solution must be found that is acceptable to the Palestinians. 

 

We advocate for the Palestinians and the Israeli movement against the occupation. We reject the idea of "balance": The occupier is Israel and it is Israel, with the fourth largest military in the world, that can remove the settlements, remove its soldiers, and end the blockade of Gaza and the West Bank.

 

We reject the idea that violence can solve this conflict, the violence of those resisting occupation or the vastly greater violence of the military occupier. We support the ongoing non-violent movement of Palestinians against the separation wall and other manifestations of occupation such as checkpoints, night raids, imprisonment of juveniles, and unchecked settler violence against Palestinian villages.

 

We urge our government to end military aid to Israel, to stop giving tax exemptions to Americans who fund the settlements, and to stop vetoing UN resolutions that call for Israel to uphold and follow basic international law.

 

Israel has continued for 45 years to expand the settlements, steal the water, destroy agricultural resources like livestock and olive trees, imprison and sometimes murder Palestinian protesters and political leaders, and generally make life difficult for all but Jews in Palestine. Since Israel gets away with this with almost complete impunity, we are left with boycott, divestment and sanctions, as well as education, as the main non-violent means of exerting pressure to lift the siege on the Palestinians.

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Afghanistan War

 

The Wichita Peace and Social Justice Center supports a full and immediate withdrawal of U.S. military presence from Afghanistan.  We believe strongly that democracy is a system of government that works best when responsibility for creating, benefiting from, and comprising citizen-voice is firmly in the hands of the citizens of that democracy.  In short we believe that no true democracy can emerge outside of America if aided by American military might.

While the Peace Center disagrees with some norms of Afghan society,
particularly related to the treatment of women, we remain convinced that
violence, force, and oppressive military occupation model precisely the
values we would like to see diminished there and throughout the world. We endorse non-military nonviolent tactics for shifting norms and empowering Afghani female and male citizens.

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Immigration


As its name implies, the Peace and Social Justice Center operates on the principle that peace cannot exist without social justice. Right now, some Americans are waging a war against immigrants, a war that will be ended, not by creating policies targeting certain people based on ethnicity or skin color, but by creating policies that bring social justice to all people. It is a matter of social justice that if we want to deal with people coming across U. S. borders, lawmakers need to enact policies that take into account that these people are just as hard-working, decent and worthy of regard as those who were born here.

It is our position that no border created by human beings can strip other human beings of their humanity. Every immigrant deserves to be treated as an equal member of the human race. We support federal policies for a just pathway to citizenship for current undocumented people within our borders. Social justice dictates that no human being is illegal. Only when we acknowledge this will we find peace.