Monday, February 9, 2009

NLG Members in Gaza Document Executions of Civilians, Blocking of Humanitarian Aid, and Destruction of Civil Property

National Lawyers Guild Announces the Arrival of Fact-Finding Mission to Gaza
Monday, February 2, 2009, 10:51 AM

Contact: Paige Cram, NLG Communications Coordinator, 212-679-5100, ext.15

The National Lawyers Guild announces the arrival of a nine-member fact-finding mission to Gaza to assess the effects of the recent attacks on the people there. It will also determine what, if any, violations of international law occurred and whether U.S. domestic law has been violated as a consequence.

All, including Israel, recognize the disastrous effects of the attack on the civilian population of Gaza, and prior Guild delegations have recognized the importance of U.S. support to Israel. The delegation seeks to learn first-hand, and report its findings, how Gaza was affected and what the consequences of the attack have been. Jimmy Leas, one of the delegates, said: “We are looking forward to investigating the ongoing military and economic attacks by Israel that have devastated the civilian population of Gaza and to examining the pivotal role the United States played in those attacks.”

The members of the mission—seven lawyers and one law student, accompanied by a documentary filmmaker—come from varied backgrounds. They hope to remain in Gaza for more than one week, and will work closely with the Palestinian Center for Human Rights and the Al-Mezan Centre. They will interview communities particularly impacted by the recent Israeli offensive, including medical personnel, humanitarian aid workers and United Nations representatives. Upon returning to the U.S., the members will compile a fact-finding report, and share its analysis with the U.S. Congress, the press, and audiences at universities across the country.

The National Lawyers Guild, founded in 1937, is the oldest and largest public interest / human rights bar organization in the United States. Its headquarters are in New York and it has chapters in every state. It is also a member of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, which plans to send its own delegation. Both organizations plan to work closely with one another upon their return from Gaza to publicize their findings and help find a path to peace with justice in Palestine.

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