We Grieve for the Future.

Statement from AJDS.

The Australian Jewish Democratic Society grieves for the future of Palestinians and Israelis.

The AJDS is also concerned at the deteriorating domestic political environment, particularly with the baiting that has occurred at a parliamentary level and the low quality of public discourse. This only contributes to community disharmony, including attacks on people in the Jewish and Muslim communities.

The AJDS reaffirms its condemnation of Hamas for its attack on Israel. The slaughter of civilians and hostage-taking, including many foreign workers, are war crimes.

The attacks by Hamas recalls for Jews around the world the traumatic history of pogroms in Europe and the war crimes committed during the holocaust.

It greatly saddens us that some supporters of Palestine and some representatives of the Muslim community have been unable to condemn the actions of Hamas.

The unrelenting bombing of Gaza after 7 October, the Israeli ground invasion and the death of thousands of children and adults, means that Palestinian civilians are paying the heaviest price in Israel’s war against Hamas. Meanwhile, settler violence on the West Bank and the harassment and arrest of Palestinian Israelis and some left-leaning Jewish activists, demonstrate that the Israeli government is continuing its far-right agenda.

History has shown that violence begets violence, and in this case does not solve the underlying cause of the conflict – the need of a homeland for Palestinians. The point has been passed in this war where the number of Gazans killed is so great it overwhelms Israel’s military objective. A way must be found to stop this carnage.

Breaking the Silence, an organisation of former Israeli soldiers has said in a joint statement on the Hamas attack, “Even now – especially now – we must maintain our moral and humane position and refuse to give in to despair or the urge for vengeance. Keeping our faith in the human spirit and its inherent goodness is more vital than ever. One thing is clear: We will never surrender our belief in humanity – even now, when doing so is more challenging than ever.”

For the sake of the Israeli hostages, the civilian population of Gaza and the Palestinian population in the Occupied Territories we urge the Australian government to take a much more assertive role in:

• urging Israel and Hamas to allow relief aid into Gaza.

• advocating for an internationally supervised ceasefire, and for all hostages to be released.

• initiating international efforts beyond the current war to revive conflict resolution.

• playing a key role in the establishment of an International Peacemaking Intervention and Commission under the UN.

The land Palestinians dream about returning to is no more. The land Israelis dream about possessing forever has turned into an immoral and unsustainable nightmare. Massive, painful concessions are required by both Israelis and Palestinians.

Israeli and Palestinian lives changed forever on 7 October. The status quo of one state ruling another people is no longer an option. A return to negotiations between Israel and Palestine is the only viable path forward.

7 November 2023

office AT ajds.org.au