Partners for Progressive Israel calls upon Israel to adhere to the ceasefire agreement set to take hold tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. While we recognize that the first step is to stop the violence, a lasting resolution to the conflict can only be achieved with renewed negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
From the beginning, we have strongly opposed Israel’s decision to bomb Gaza and to invade Gaza on the ground. We, also, condemn Hamas’s incessant assault and refusal to comply with previous ceasefire agreements. Despite Israel’s efforts to prevent civilian deaths in Gaza, the vast majority of casualties have, in fact, been civilian. This has been seriously damaging to Israel’s moral standing in the international community. The slaughter in Gaza negates Israel’s policy to prevent this outcome; we saw similar failures in operations Cast Lead and Pillar of Defense. Israel’s tactics of dropping leaflets and ‘knocking on the roof’ prior to aerial strikes have not significantly reduced the massive numbers of deaths and injuries and cannot justify the civilian suffering that has ensued.
Also, the inability of the Israeli government to look beyond military solutions in this operation is the underlying reason behind the ongoing conflict in Gaza. While Hamas’s violent resistance to Israel increases their popularity and support among the Palestinian people, Israel’s military response compounds that support and leads to more and more Israeli losses. The devastation–the destruction of homes and death of entire families on one side and of young soldiers on the other–radicalizes both populations against a negotiated political agreement. Such an agreement is the only way to prevent the recurrence of these operations and to potentially resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Furthermore, this crisis has inflamed passions within Israel, and those opposing the war have been vehemently attacked for their views. Strong verbal and physical attacks have been waged by groups and individuals against anti-war dissenters who are challenging the current course of military action. We find this trend alarming undermining the values of free speech and democratic discourse for which Israel is widely known and justly proud.
As the violence spreads to the West Bank and Jerusalem, Partners for Progressive Israel again reiterates its call to Israel to acknowledge the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, return to the negotiating table and put all effort into ending the conflict. We applaud the commitment and initiatives put forth by Secretary of State John Kerry, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the constructive role Egypt has played in working toward a ceasefire. We, also, stand with all Israelis who seek a cessation of violence and a durable peace for all the people of the region.