AMERICAN JOBS take priority over the lives and human rights of people who are victimized by weapons and technology that U.S. and Israeli companies produce for profit. The campaign contributions that Congress members receive from domestic and international defense contractors support death and repression globally.

One contractor is Merrimack’s Elbit Systems of America, a subsidiary of Israel’s largest weapons-maker located in Haifa. The latter has been involved in all major Israeli offensives against Palestinians in Gaza.

“Operation Cast Lead” of 2008-2009 killed 1,391 Palestinians (759 civilians; 308 children). During 2012’s “Pillar of Defense” 174 Palestinians were killed, including 10 members of one family. 2014’s “Operation Protective Edge” killed 2,104 Palestinian civilians, including 495 children.

Since March 30, during the “Great March of Return,” unarmed Palestinians have walked peacefully to the Israeli enclosure that imprisons them. As of last month, Israel has killed at least 210 Palestinians, who, for the most part, remained on their own land, behind fences and barbed wire and posed no threat to heavily armed Israeli soldiers.

One child slain in the “Great March of Return” was 12-year-old Fares Hafeth Sarsawi. A sniper’s bullet fired at his chest took the child’s life, one of three Palestinians killed on Oct. 5, 2018. In addition, that day gunfire struck 134 others, including 32 children.

Razan Ashraf Najjar, 22, a female volunteer medic, unarmed and wearing a medical coat, was providing aid to wounded Palestinians. She was 100 meters from the fence beyond which Israeli snipers were stationed. Drone positioning targeted all medics, but it was Razan who was murdered that day.

Every Palestinian, no matter age, gender, medic or journalist, is a potential victim of Israeli gunfire. Ibrahim Ahmad Arrouqi, a 78-year-old farmer, became an Israeli military target and random victim while tending crops far from the border. No one is safe in the Palestinian Territories.

When is it justified to murder and maim children, medics, and journalists who live under siege? Surveillance drones, such as those Elbit produces, provide coordinates, then F-35s drop bombs and snipers fire. The Israeli operators don’t even identify their human targets beforehand.

Each week, Palestinian voices cry for help with their demonstrations. Palestinians want to realize freedom and equality, granted through U.N. Resolution 194, passed just after the 1947 resolution that partitioned Palestine and created the state of Israel on Palestinian land. Both U.N. Resolution 181 and Israel’s own Declaration of Independence expressed the intention that the two peoples, Palestinians and Israelis, would live side by side in peace.

Israel has refused to abide by the U.N. resolution and honor its own statement to “foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants.” Israel said its existence would “be based on freedom, justice and peace…, (and would) ensure complete equality of social and political rights to ALL its inhabitants ….” Instead of honoring its word, Israel has continued to confiscate more Palestinian land through illegal expansion of settlements and to acquire Palestinian resources (water, natural gas, oil reserves).

Israel’s propaganda machine and Zionist lobby groups have continued to blame the Palestinian victims for the ongoing conflict even though Palestinians have no military, no currency, no freedom of movement, no airport, and no resources that would allow it to be a viable aggressor.

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen has taken at least $10,500 in campaign contributions from Israeli weapons giant Elbit Systems, which makes a killing from repression and death from Palestine to the U.S.-Mexico border. She also received $300,863 from U.S. military contractors (Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Boeing).

Taking money from defense contractors puts elected officials in the position of supporting expanded, endless, and unjustified wars rather than meeting the needs of people at home—repairing infrastructure, supporting education, providing health care for all, undertaking alternative energy initiatives, building high speed rail, and other goals.

As New Hampshire residents concerned with human rights and the creation of a more peaceful world, we ask our U.S. senators to immediately stop accepting campaign contributions from Elbit Systems and U.S. weapons manufacturers.

It is time to reassess our nation’s priorities and values and place people and their needs first. We cannot do this by waging continuous war and enabling corporations that profit from marginalizing, dehumanizing, vilifying and targeting not only Palestinians, but non-whites who seek justice everywhere in the world.

Carolyn Cicciu of Goffstown, Jim Smart of Keene, and Will Thomas of Auburn signed this piece from the NH Palestine Education Network (PEN). PEN is a project of NH Peace Action.