US Must Stop Giving Israel Weapons to Kill Palestinians: Ex-American Colonel and Diplomat

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ADANA – A former US diplomat and army colonel called for a halt to US funding and weapons supplies to Israel while taking part in a rally in southern Türkiye in support of Palestinians.

Participants in the huge “Freedom Convoy for Palestine” organized by Türkiye’s Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), which set out from Istanbul on Sunday, protested Israel’s attacks on Palestine in front of the Incirlik Air Base in the southern city of Adana, where a number of US forces are stationed.

Representatives and members of civil society groups from various cities in Türkiye as well as members of the public who support the convoy gathered in front of the airbase, where the US Air Force 39th Air Wing Command is stationed.

Among the protestors was Mary Annette Wright, a 77-year-old retired US Army colonel and former US diplomat, who told Anadolu she had resigned from the US government 20 years ago in opposition to the war on Iraq and has since been working with groups all over the world to challenge US policies “that kill people around the world.”

“We don’t want any more killing. And it’s the US partner, Israel, that’s causing the killing. So it’s up to the US to really talk strongly to Israel and stop giving them weapons that are killing the Palestinians.

“Israel rejects a cease-fire because they want to continue to kill more and more innocent civilians in Gaza. That’s their purpose. They want to continue the war, to continue the killing. And that’s terrible, and the US is protecting them doing that,” she said.

She also expressed her admiration for IHH to be able to mobilize so many people in Türkiye, saying a convoy of 5,000 cars and buses came all the way to Adana.

‘Worst thing we can do is stay silent’

Herman Reksten, a captain representing a freedom flotilla from Oslo, said he has been working with the freedom flotilla and ships to Gaza for many years.

“We are here today to announce our plans to sail again to Gaza and to try again to challenge the blockade. Of course now, the situation has changed quite a lot. So we are here to announce that we will try as soon as possible and gather the support that is needed to be successful,” he said.

“The worst thing we can do is to sit still and be silent. We know that sitting still and saying nothing will not have any impact at all.”

Reksten said that back in his hometown of Oslo, about 9,000 people took to the streets to protest the Israeli attacks. However, he expressed his disappointment over the bans on freedom of speech in other European cities.

“A cease-fire needs to happen now. There is no question that what Hamas did was terrorism, but there is no question that what Israel is doing now is genocide,” he noted.

Last week, the Israeli army expanded its air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip, which has been under relentless airstrikes since the Palestinian group Hamas launched a surprise offensive against Israel on Oct. 7.

At least 10,022 Palestinians, including 4,104 children and 2,641 women, have been killed in Israeli bombardments in the Gaza Strip.

Another 159 Palestinians have been killed and 2,250 wounded by Israeli forces across the West Bank in the same period.

The Israeli death toll is nearly 1,600, according to official figures. -AA

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