Gaza: End the violence now
Global Justice Now does not work on Palestine. No organisation can tackle every injustice in the world and we have left this issue to those who can give it the attention it needs.
But today, we are making an exception. We cannot stay silent while horrifying waves of violence are directed at civilians in Gaza. We will not stay silent while our own government gives Israel the green light to carry out war crimes. It’s our obligation to speak out, and I know that many of our activists and international allies would expect us to do so.
Let me be clear: we condemn all violence against civilians. Hamas’ murder of Israeli civilians was abhorrent. Neither is it acceptable to take hostages, and we demand their immediate release.
But in response to Hamas’ actions, Israel is now carrying out the most brutal collective punishment of Palestinians in Gaza. In the past 10 days, Israel has cut off the supply of water, power, food and medicine to over 2 million people (1). It has bombed places of safety, including schools and health facilities (2, 3). And it has ordered over a million Palestinians to leave their homes with no assurance of return (4).
These actions are blatant violations of international law. The Red Cross, which rarely rebukes governments, has condemned Israel’s evacuation order as illegal (5), while Oxfam says this is an “unprecedented” situation where “the humanitarian rulebook has been thrown out” (6).These actions will not help secure the release of the hostages. Israeli human rights group B’Tselem has warned that Israel’s strategy would “abandon the captives to their fate” (7). Rather they will build even more anger and hostility, and as a result, risk drawing other countries into this dangerous conflict. Instead, we must end the spiral of violence. That’s why we’ve joined with more than 250 organisations to call for an immediate ceasefire.
What we can do
Sadly, here in Britain, our own government has given blanket endorsement to Israel’s actions. Earlier in the week, Conservative MP Crispin Blunt warned that the UK could be complicit in war crimes in Gaza if it does not do more to ‘restrain’ Israel (8). We agree, which is why we’d like to encourage you to take one or more of the following actions:
- Join us this Saturday in London to demand an end to the war on Gaza. The march assembles at 12 noon at Marble Arch. If you’re coming and would like to meet up, email [email protected] before 5pm on Friday.(9)
- Donate to an independent organisation delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza, such as Medical Aid for Palestinians: https://www.map.org.uk
- Write to your MP: https://www.writetothem.com/
Throughout its existence, Global Justice Now has always tried to address the causes of poverty and injustice. Too often, injustice has resulted from colonial systems of domination. As such, we cannot gloss over the root cause of this conflict: the decades-long occupation of Palestine by Israel.
This occupation involves the murder and imprisonment of civilians, attacks on schools and hospitals, displacement, home demolitions, destruction of livelihoods – week in, week out, for decades, only rarely making the news headlines. And yet the British government, once colonial overseer of Palestine, continues to give political and military support to Israel’s actions. Little wonder Palestinians feel their suffering is invisible to us.
We cannot hope to achieve peace without tackling these root causes of violence. I know that currently seems unattainable, and it’s natural to feel powerless at times like this. But history shows that even in the darkest times, there is still hope, if enough people stand up and demand change. I hope you will join us.
- Crisis in Gaza: why food, water and power are running out, Guardian, 17 October 2023
- At least 6 people killed in Israeli air strike on UNRWA school in Gaza, Reuters, 17 October 2023
- No power, water or fuel to Gaza until hostages freed, says Israel minister, Guardian, 12 October 2023
- Why Israel’s Gaza Evacuation Order is So Alarming, Human Rights Watch, 16 October 2023
- Evacuation order of Gaza triggers catastrophic humanitarian consequences, ICRC, 13 October 2023
- Never in Oxfam’s history have we seen a humanitarian crisis like the one in Gaza, 19 October 2023
- B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, 11 October 2023
- Tory MP accuses Israel and Hamas of ‘war crimes’ in Israel and Gaza, Sky News, 18 October 2023
- Other protests taking place include: Aberdeen – 2pm, St Nicholas Square; Glasgow – 2pm, Buchanan Steps; Edinburgh – 2pm, Princes Street (foot of the mound); Leeds – 12pm, Briggate (nr JD Sports)
Photo: Alisdare Hickson/Flickr