At the time of this writing on October 9, Israel's government has declared a "complete siege"
of Gaza in response to surprise attacks launched on the morning of October 7 by Hamas, the militant group that holds political control of Gaza.
During Hamas' attacks, hundreds of Israeli citizens were tragically killed by rocket strikes, while many more were wounded or taken hostage by fighters on the ground. Soon after, retaliatory airstrikes by Israel into Gaza killed nearly as many Palestinians as Israeli citizens had been killed by Hamas. Thousands more were injured. This violence must end. Despite holding an emergency meeting on the Gaza escalation, the United Nations Security Council has yet to agree on a statement. Sign to demand the UN Security Council call for a ceasefire!
To be clear: there is no excuse for any form of violence against civilian people and children. The tragedy and loss of life that has come since Hamas' attacks is being felt by hundreds of families on both sides.
However, the violence from Hamas is not unprovoked. This summer was marked by violence in the region, with Israel launching air and ground attacks against Palestinians, including drone strikes against a refugee camp, killing women and children.
Palestinian territory has been occupied by Israel since 1967. Since 2007, Israel has imposed an air, land and sea blockade on the Gaza Strip, collectively punishing its entire population. Last year, Amnesty International published a report condemning Israel's apartheid against Palestinians, calling it a "cruel system of domination and crime against humanity."
As Jewish Voice for Peace so aptly put it, "the root of violence is oppression."
These horrific, condemnable attacks by Hamas on innocent Israeli civilians were made possible by 75 years of violent occupation of Palestine by Israel, and 16 years of a closure-policy in Gaza that turned it into an "open-air prison."
Now, in response to the attacks by Hamas, Israel is cutting off food, fuel, and electricity to Gaza. Under UN statutes, this is a war crime. No civilians should suffer or die on either side of this war.
Hamas' attacks on Israeli civilians should be condemned. Israel "starving 2 million people who cannot move and are under a land siege and naval blockade" cannot be justified or supported.
It's also worth pointing out that children make up roughly half of Gaza's population and have already been suffering for years under the blockade. Now, they will undoubtedly face the worst of Israel's powerful US-backed army.
The answer is not a declaration of war from Israel.The current solution is a ceasefire, followed by a compromise where all citizens -- both Palestinian and Israeli -- have their human rights recognized and protected. It is inexcusable that the UN Security Council has waited this long to release a strong statement condemning the violence from Hamas and the prolonged violence from Israel against Palestinians. Sign the petition to demand a ceasefire NOW!