URGENT: Statement on Palestine

Dear John, 

This week we have watched with horror the escalation of violence in the occupied Palestinian territory of Gaza and the West Bank, and Israel. And wanted to share with you our organisational statement on the unfolding situation, to explain what is happening and the context surrounding this latest escalation — we will be in touch over the next week to let you know what action you can take. Only when we all come together can we secure a brighter future of peace and justice for all. 

“The escalation of violence in the occupied Palestinian territory of Gaza and the West Bank, and Israel, has resulted in an unacceptable loss of life — and we urge all parties, including the international community to work to stop the bloodshed. All perpetrators of human rights violations and war crimes must be held to account. We condemn Hamas’ attacks on Israeli civilians and the holding of civilian hostages, and Israel’s retaliatory attacks, using the full force of one of the most powerful militaries in the world indiscriminately against the trapped Palestinian civilian population. All parties must live up to their own obligations under international law to protect civilian life.  

This continuing cycle of violence is firmly rooted in Israel’s ongoing 75-year illegal occupation, 16-year illegal blockade of Gaza and the maintenance of an apartheid state. Just two weeks ago the UN warned that Israel’s increasing military raids and attacks, rising use of military force and use of administrative detention, as well as increasing the pace of illegal settlements, and State support for Israeli settler violence against Palestinians is a violation of Palestinians rights, and was precipitating a spiral of violence. The Israeli military had already killed over 240 Palestinians, including 45 children in this year alone, before this recent escalation — making it the deadliest year for Palestinians since 2014.  

In the past few days, reports indicate Hamas fighters have killed at least 900 Israelis and injured over 2,600 (according to Israel’s health ministry). Israel has responded, as we have seen time and time again, by subjecting the Palestinian people to acts of collective punishment — illegal under international law. Israel’s attacks on the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank, have already killed at least 721 people and injured over 4,000, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. We condemn the indiscriminate heavy bombardment of the Gaza Strip, and the cutting off of energy, food, medical and water supplies which amplifies the daily suffering of a trapped population that has already endured extreme hardship through years of Israeli blockade. The numbers of casualties are rising as the violence continues, and it is once again civilians paying the price for the failure to end the occupation and the cycle of violence it facilitates. 

The use of language that further enflames tensions, escalates the crisis and dehumanises Palestinians by Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu and his government must be called out and challenged by the international community. We are alarmed by the growing erasure of Palestinian lives and rights in the statements made by the UK government. The UK government, and other members of the international community must make clear that Israel’s ‘right to defend itself’ does not extend to perpetrating war crimes with impunity. Israel has a horrific track record of deliberately targeting civilians, using its military might and advanced military hardware to carry out disproportionate attacks. Indiscriminate attacks which kill or injure civilians can amount to war crimes. This oppression and brutality is carried out in service of maintaining Israel’s illegal occupation and apartheid regime, themselves violations of the basic human rights of the Palestinian people. It is therefore crucial that the UK government ends its complicity in these crimes by ending all arms sales to Israel 

The international community has failed to hold Israel to account for its decades-long violations of international law. The cycle of violence must stop, Israel’s illegal occupation must end, and the rights of all people must be respected.”

In solidarity,  

Asad Rehman
War on Want 

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