“it is not the use of violence that leads to peace. War calls on war, violence calls on violence. I invite all the parties involved and the international community to renew their commitment so that dialogue, justice and peace prevail.” Pope Francis, Audience, May 16, 2018
The Quixote Center has never had an institutional presence in the Middle East, or actively campaigned on Palestinian statehood and the conflict with Israel. We nevertheless feel compelled to raise our voices with others at this critical time in condemning the extraordinary violence that the Israeli Defense Forces have employed against demonstrators in Gaza. We wish to encourage everyone to speak out, contact members of congress to suspend military aid to Israel until the killing stops and consider joining the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement.
The Association of International Development Agencies issued a statement this week (May 15), signed by 80 international non-governmental organizations. They summarize the level of violence:
Since 30 March, more than 100 Palestinians have been killed, and another 12,271 injured, including hundreds of children. In addition, medical personnel and facilities have also come under fire, resulting in the injury of 211 medical staff and damage sustained to 25 ambulances, according to WHO. Hospitals are at the brink of collapse, unable to deal with the vast number of injured as a result of a decade-long blockade and insufficient electricity and medical supplies and equipment. Due to the near impossibility of obtaining a medical referral for surgery outside of the Gaza Strip, 21 Palestinians injured during demonstrations have so far had limb amputations since 30 March.
Maryknoll Office of Global Concern has issued a call to action, and we would encourage all to follow through contacting members of congress.
"Palestinians have long asked 'how long?' and looked for signs that they are not forgotten…Seventy years of displacement and dispossession, half a century of occupation, and generations of yearning are enough. We trust in God, that the hope the prophets foretold is not only a promise for all of God’s children, but will be realized, and we pray—and recommit to working—for the realization of God’s justice and peace for all peoples."
Click here to tell your elected officials: 70 years is enough! Ask them to:
- Call for an end to the use of violence by Israeli forces against the protesters,
- Call for an investigation by the State Department to ensure that US military aid to Israel is not used in ways that contravene established US and international laws,
- Insist on humanitarian relief for the people of Gaza and an end to the Gaza blockade, and
- Support policies that promote the human rights of all people, Palestinians and Israelis alike.
As noted in a statement signed by 14 faith communities, the United States government has a large responsibility here.
We know that our own government’s seemingly unqualified and unquestioning support for Israel is a significant enabling factor for Israel’s continuing and repeated violations of international conventions and laws. The United States' unequaled military aid to Israel, its regular defense of Israel in diplomatic arenas, especially the UN Security Council, national and state efforts to criminalize the use of economic measures as a moral act, U.S. support for the blockade of Gaza, and the move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, are but some of the ways the US has acted without regard to Palestinian rights.
Until the violence ends, until the U.S. government ceases its support for militarization of the conflict, enabling the worst human rights abuses, all should consider joining with Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Movement. You can find more information here, as well as a list of action ideas for your local community.