by Laura Moye

Photo Credit: Yang Kang

New Bloom publishes the following letter sent to the American Institute in Taiwan, America’s de facto embassy in Taiwan in the absence of formal diplomatic relations, regarding current events unfolding in Gaza. 

AS AMERICANS WATCHING the Israel/Palestine crisis grow worse and worse, we continue to wonder what more we can do from Taiwan. We care as global citizens, and we care as Americans. We are implicated as billions more in military aid and weapons are transferred by our government to the Israeli Defense Force to continuously crush Gaza. The numbers are startling. So far, 1 in 700 Gazans have been killed, two-thirds civilian, 14,000 children. People are literally starving, despite aid trucks lined up on the other side of the security barrier that upholds the 16-year illegal blockade of Gaza.

Many of us have joined forces with Taiwanese and other international friends to do community education, participate in protests, and circulate actions and news online. We watch the endless violence and collective punishment and we want to do more. The International Court of Justice made a preliminary order back in January in response to South Africa’s suit against Israel. It concluded there was a “plausible” case of genocide. Therefore, the whole world should be moving mountains to stop the deadly and unrelenting course we are on.

A group of us got together a couple of weeks ago to think about how we could mobilize foreign nationals in Taiwan, especially as many of our governments are deeply involved in this crisis. We had the idea to target our de facto consulates here, being the official representative offices of our governments. Our goal was to raise our voices together as a community and ask our compatriots to send news up their chains of command to the foreign affairs departments back home.

We turned to Amnesty International as we put together our list of demands. A couple of us in the team have a long history as active members of the organization and trust its research-based, human rights-centered, impartial approach to issues of justice.

In just two weeks, 119 Americans responded to our request to add their names to the letter. We have reached out to the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). They warmly agreed to receive our letter by mail and share it with the State Department, though they turned down our request to meet with them in person.

We watch with hope the multicultural coalitions of American college students who have been camping out on their campuses for an end to the crushing of Gaza. They have faced harassment, police violence, and threats to their standing at those prestigious institutions. We are inspired to do more.

Below is the text of our letter to AIT:

Subject: Urgent Appeal for Ceasefire and End to Occupation in Palestine

April 24, 2024

American Institute in Taiwan
Sandra Oudkirk, Director
100 Jinhu Road, Neihu District
Taipei 114017, Taiwan

Dear Ms. Oudkirk,

We, concerned expatriate citizens, write to you with heavy hearts regarding the ongoing crisis in Palestine. As Americans living abroad, we cannot remain silent in the face of the escalating violence and suffering amid the ongoing and recently escalated Israel-Palestine conflict.

The tragedy of October 7th and the reactionary bombardment of Gaza underscore the urgent need for action to address the root causes of the conflict and to prevent further bloodshed. The illegal occupation and settlement of Palestinian lands, coupled with undignified checkpoints and second-class citizenship point to a clear need for intervention for universal human rights in the region.

We urge the United States government, through your esteemed office, to use its influence and diplomatic channels to demand an immediate ceasefire from all parties involved. Additionally, we call for a genuine and sustained effort towards a just and lasting resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on international law, human rights principles, and the relevant United Nations resolutions. In line with the demands of Amnesty International, we urge immediate action on the following:

  • Call for an immediate ceasefire by all parties in the occupied Gaza Strip and Israel to prevent further loss of civilian lives and to ensure access to life-saving aid for people in Gaza amidst an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe.
  • Demand the lifting of restrictions on delivery of urgent humanitarian aid, including fuel, food, and medical supplies, to the Gaza Strip in sufficient quantities to meet the dire needs of the civilian population, and urge the Israeli government to immediately restore Gaza’s supply of electricity, water, fuel, and food and rescind the unlawful evacuation order.
  • Call for an end to unlawful attacks, including indiscriminate attacks, direct attacks on civilians and civilian objects, and disproportionate attacks.
  • Demand that Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups in Gaza release all civilian hostages unconditionally and immediately and treat all those being held captive humanely, including by providing medical treatment, pending their release.
  • Demand the immediate suspension of the direct and indirect supply, sale, or transfer to the Israeli government of all weapons, munitions, and other military and security equipment, and make clear that the U.S. will not tolerate the perpetuation of war crimes or crimes against humanity with weapons it has provided to the Israeli government. We ask that the US government commit to implementing the administration’s own policies regarding human rights and civilian harm reduction.
  • Call on the Israeli government to lift the unlawful 16-year blockade on Gaza, and dismantle its system of apartheid imposed over Palestinians. Support the International Criminal Court in urgently expediting its ongoing investigation into evidence of war crimes and other crimes under international law.

With urgency, we implore the United States to take concrete steps to end the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories, which has only deepened the cycle of violence and perpetuated the suffering of innocent civilians. It is imperative that the rights and dignity of all people, regardless of their nationality or ethnicity, are respected and protected.

As proud citizens of the United States, we believe in the values of justice, equality, and peace. We stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their quest for freedom, self-determination, and a future of hope and prosperity.

We trust that you will convey our concerns and requests to the appropriate authorities with the urgency and seriousness they deserve. The time to act is now, before more lives are lost and the prospects for peace fade even further.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.

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