WASHINGTON - With Israel expanding its war against the Palestinians in Gaza, a coalition of American Muslim and Arab-American civil rights organisations called on President Barack Obama “not to sit on the sidelines” and try to stop the Israeli attacks in the occupied territory.

“We urge President Obama not to sit on the sidelines as American taxpayer-funded weapons are used to kill civilians - including babies - and to destroy the civilian infrastructure in Gaza,” the coalition said in a statement. “Our nation’s blind support for Israel’s brutal actions has done and continues to do immense harm to America’s image and interests in the Middle East and worldwide.” The statement added, “We regret the death or injury of any civilians on either side of this tragic conflict. It is time to tell Israel and the world that Palestinian blood and property are just as precious as that of Israelis.

Until the core issue of justice for the Palestinian people is addressed by our nation and by the international community, we will no doubt witness endless repetitions of these senseless cycles of violence. America must not be party to this violence, either through action or inaction.”