As Jews and Israelis living outside Israel the AJDS recognises its responsibility to speak out against the ongoing violence in Gaza.
As the ground offensive continues, and increasing numbers of civilians are being killed, the AJDS condemns the ongoing violence in Gaza and Israel. At this time when more than 470 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed, including at least 364 civilians (121 of them children), more than 3,500 Palestinians have been injured (including at least 1104 children), and 27 Israelis have been killed (25 soldiers and 2 civilians), we recognise that these attacks are overwhelmingly being perpetrated against Palestinian civilians. We further note that civilians across Israel are living in fear and that the cost is falling disproportionately upon the most marginalised – Bedouin in the South with no bomb shelters, no air raid sirens and no iron dome over their communities. Thousands of Gazans have now lost their homes in the attacks, and some 100,000 have fled their homes, many to seek shelter in UN compounds. Thousands of Israeli civilians have also fled their homes under rocket-fire in the south of Israel.
Overnight 20-21 July Australian time more than 60 Palestinians were killed in the neighbourhood of Shuja’iyya: a massacre took place while we slept. The hospitals in Gaza are overflowing, and as the blockade of Gaza continues there is nowhere to flee.
We reject the claims that these attacks, with such a high civilian toll, are genuinely advancing the security interests of Israelis. Rather, they breed more suffering and hatred, and with it more extremism, that can lead only to further acts of violence, increased segregation and regional isolation. We recognise that Jews in Israel and across the world will never truly be free until Palestinians share in our freedom. That for Israel to truly be a safe home for Jews in the Middle East, there is no option but to achieve a political resolution with Palestine and neighbouring States. These attacks do nothing to resolve those outstanding political issues and advance real peace and security for both peoples. Instead, Israel relegates itself to increasing political and economic isolation, to a future of higher walls, bigger tanks, stronger missiles.
We condemn the failure of all parties to reach a ceasefire agreement that recognises the depth of the issues present. We also condemn the apparent failure of Egyptian authorities to genuinely consult and convey the terms of a proposed ceasefire last week, and mourn the loss of life that has occurred on both sides since. We recognise that Israel and Egypt’s blockade on Gaza is unlawful and has caused immeasurable suffering for the 1.8 million civilians confined there both physically and economically. We recognise the role both of the blockade and Israel’s mass-arrests of Palestinians following the murder of 3 Israeli teenagers in the West Bank in sparking the current cycle of violence.
We call on Israel, Hamas and Egyptian authorities to immediately implement a ceasefire, and commence serious tripartate negotiations, in good faith, toward meeting the humanitarian needs of Gazans and that considers the terms proposed by Hamas for a 10 year truce.
At this time, words become important but insufficient. We encourage all our members and supporters to speak out and write letters where possible. Contact Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and the Israeli Ambassador in Australia, asking them to pressure the Israeli, Hamas and Egyptian authorities.
We also encourage you to donate:
– UNRWA has set up an emergency appeal, details of which can be found here: http://www.unrwa.org/content/gaza-emergency-appeal
– Australian Union Aid Abroad has also launched an urgent appeal for donations to support hospitals in Gaza, you can donate here –http://www.apheda.org.au/news/1405403245_13079.html
– Rabbis for Human Rights http://rhr.org.il/eng/
– NIF Emergency Grant Fund to counter incitement and violence http://www.nif.org.au/nif_gives_emergency_grants_jul_2014