We Need a #CeasefireNow in Gaza
Based in our commitment to peacebuilding—and our work with Palestinian and Israeli peacebuilders over a span of 20 years—we join the growing call for a #CeasefireNOW and an end to the attack on Gaza. We continue to believe that—as our Israeli and Palestinian colleagues in Combatants for Peace would say—there is another way. An immediate ceasefire and de-escalation of violent conflict is the first step toward improving safety and security for all civilians.
Violence will not bring about peace, and is instead likely to strengthen extremism on all sides, making lasting security more distant.
As a US-based organization, we specifically call on our government to support an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Israel and Palestine—instead of fueling the escalation of this conflict with arms.
This is an urgent plea; UN aid agencies say they are “on their knees.” The airstrikes do not bring peace, only further suffering. This conflict’s deep roots extend back into the pain of the Holocaust and the Nakba, through the trauma and fear of continual violent conflicts, into the ongoing violence of the occupation, and now this. More violence and trauma is not the answer. The horrifying attack on October 7 was the deadliest attack on Jews since the Holocaust, killing more than 1,200 people in Israel at a time when anti-Semitism has been a growing threat in the U.S. and worldwide.
The air strikes on Gaza that followed have been beyond devastating. More than 11,000 Palestinians have been killed [as of Nov. 13], and more than 2 million people in Gaza are now in critical need of humanitarian aid. They are blockaded and cut off from water, fuel, medicine, and electricity. Only 4% of the aid needed before this crisis [as of Oct 25] is currently able to trickle in.
Over 2,700 people in Gaza are presumed to be trapped under rubble, and nearly 240 hostages captured in Israel remain somewhere in Gaza amid the destruction. A ceasefire improves chances for their safe recovery.
At the heart of all this violence is dangerous dehumanization.
We reject the idea that Gazans’ suffering is a necessary or unavoidable cost—or that Palestinians have collectively brought this violence upon themselves. These are false narratives that deny the humanity of Palestinian people.
The recent sharp rise in hate crimes against Jews worldwide is a dreadful warning that anti-Semitism still lurks just beneath the surface in our societies. Islamophobic hate crimes are also escalating. The current tensions underscore the critical need for all of us to remain vigilant against hate—even in ourselves and our own communities.
To stand against the dehumanization of other groups during times of conflict is a courageous act. In Palestine and Israel, it is now particularly brave. In this time of unfathomable grief—and high risk of further atrocities—we stand with the diverse chorus of voices now calling for de-escalation.
As a powerful resource—we recommend this recording of Combatants for Peace (CfP) activists, Israeli and Palestinian, reflecting together on the current crisis. We had the privilege of collaborating with CfP in 2013-2017.
Holding on to Humanity & Hope, October 20, 2023.