Peace Now will be joining other organizations to hold a demonstration tonight, 15 May 2018, regarding the situation along the Gaza Strip. The protest will take place at 19:00, opposite Beit Jabotinsky–the Likud party headquarters–on 38 King George St., in Tel Aviv.
As the right-wing governing coalition fails yet again to prevent the latest round of violence in Gaza, we must stand up and demand a comprehensive political settlement that will ensure the restoration of Gaza and an end to the bloodshed.
This latest round of violence has long been predicted, yet our government has for years chosen not to adopt a proactive approach to alleviate Gaza’s humanitarian disaster in the short-run, and to seek a path toward a political solution in the long-run.
To state clearly, Hamas bears great responsibility for the miserable situation of the residents of Gaza, due among other reasons to its poor governance and strategy of sending the Strip’s young out into the line of fire in order to draw international pressure on Israel after the IDF retaliates.
It should be just as clear, however, that despite Hamas’ role, Israel’s obligation to protect its citizens must not come at the cost of shooting protesters that do not pose a lethal threat to IDF soldiers. Israel has one of the most technologically capable and dynamic militaries in the world, and as security experts can attest, has within its ability the tools to employ non-lethal methods of crowd control against individuals who do not present a lethal threat.
Indeed, if Hamas’ strategy is to provoke a heavy Israeli military response, then Israel should be doing everything in its power to avoid being entrapped in another round of violence.
There are solutions to Gaza, but the events of yesterday proved that the government does not want to pay the political price of a necessary compromise, nor to deal with the response of the settler right.
It is the Israeli government that is responsible for the physical strangulation of Gaza, and for stifling the hope of two million Palestinians who live with severe limits on access to water, electricity, food and employment.
When there is no hope, when people are choked in a blockade for years, despair leads people to take extreme measures. We must not remain indifferent to the distress, frustration and despair of people who have nothing to lose, and who demonstrate in front of the fence.
We call on the government to make a series of decisions this evening:
- To lift the siege, to stop the ongoing strangulation of the Gaza Strip.
- Allow the flow of water, electricity and food to Gaza without any restrictions.
- To allow work permits in Israel to thousands of Gazans in order to alleviate their economic distress.
- To enter into a dialogue with Palestinian leaders toward an end to the escalation.
- To strive earnestly for a two-state solution (that includes the Gaza Strip).