The UN Must Call for a Ceasefire Before Any More Civilians Die!

October 10th, 2023 - by The Petition Site & Peace Action

Israel Has Declared War. The UN Must Call
For a Ceasefire Before Any More Civilians Die!
Care2 Petitions Team

(October 9, 2023) — At the time of this writing on October 9, Israel’s far-right 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.

Urge the UN Security Council to 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. Of course, no civilians should suffer or die on either side of this war. While Hamas’ attacks on Israeli civilians should be condemned, “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, a nation which holds all of the power over Palestine and has, for decades, used that power to commit human rights violations against Palestinians. 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.

ACTION: Sign the petition to demand a ceasefire NOW! The current solution is a ceasefire. Demand action!

Tell Congress: End the Killing in Gaza/Israel
Jon Rainwater / Peace Action

We at Peace Action are heartbroken over the escalating violence in Israel and Gaza. Granted, this violence didn’t come out of a vacuum, there have been decades of violent Israeli government oppression. But the recent violence still shocks one’s conscience.

Civilian lives deserve protection. The scenes of Hamas-led forces abusing Israeli children and elderly hostages, or of hundreds of civilians gunned down at bus stops, music festivals, and in homes, are heartrending.  Even the strongest supporter of the Palestinian fight for self-determination can condemn the wanton mistreatment of civilians. Our hearts go out to the victims. We hope for a speedy return of hostages.

At the same time, if we really care about protecting civilian lives and rights, we must work to end the ongoing crime of the Israeli occupation that drives cycles of violence. This includes the hellish blockade of Gaza for the last 16 years.

Many in Congress are ignoring this essential context and pledging unequivocal support for Israel. But with US support, Israeli security forces abuse children and the elderly. Settlers engage in home invasions and burning cars and houses. Police engage in torture. Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed this year.

Please join us at Peace Action in pushing Congress to call for de-escalation and restraint. Ask your representatives to support a ceasefire now.

In the short term, we need our representatives to call for de-escalation and a ceasefire, not offer “unequivocal” military support. Congress must also work to end the occupation. That means ending the unconditional military aid that props up the occupation.

The United States is the world’s greatest sponsor of the occupation with $3.8 Billion in military weapons a year. And now Congressmembers are calling for more military aid and giving a green light to unrestrained Israeli military action. This reminds me of 9-11 which led to decades of wasted lives and trillions spent. Already, jets paid for with your and my tax dollars are bombing Gaza indiscriminately. US warships and fighter jets are being sent to the region as a “show of force”. Will Lebanon or Iran get dragged in? Escalation could trigger years of war.

Before the casualty counts grow, you and I can help raise the voice for restraint and oppose more arms and military escalation.

President Netanyahu is talking about turning Gaza’s “wicked cities” to “rubble”. The Israeli Defense Minister just said that “We are imposing a complete siege on Gaza. There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel. We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly”. This is collective punishment that is a violation of humanitarian law. Congress shouldn’t offer “unequivocal support” for war crimes in the making.

You and I can be the voice for de-escalation before the violations get worse. We can ask Congress to pressure the Israeli government to avoid massacres of civilians. Congressmembers can push to support a ceasefire. Ask them to call to end the violence today.

At the same time, it’s not too early to press Congress to look at the roots of this violence. Congress needs to re-examine how the trillions in military aid we are sending to Israel only maintains oppression and violence. We need to end US complicity in this horrific tragedy.

Please join in with all of us today to prevent a widening blood bath. Ask your members of Congress to support a ceasefire.

My best to you and yours, especially if you’ve been personally touched by this violence. Our vision at Peace Action is of a just world where all can live their lives in dignity free from political violence and oppression. Even now we push for that vision.

I am heartbroken by the violence and loss of lives in Israel and Gaza. Civilians should never be targets of military action. The actions of Hamas in Israel included severe war crimes. Now the Israeli military is responding with its own human rights violations. The most important thing now is to prevent more violence.

I urge you to make a public statement calling for restraint and de-escalation immediately. Please call for an end to this violence and a ceasefire.

I am disappointed that so many in Congress are speaking as if “unequivocal support” for unrestrained Israeli retaliation can solve this persistent problem. Already, as I write, US weapons are being used to bomb Gaza indiscriminately, a human rights violation.

The Israeli President and Defense Minister are using disturbing language about turning Gaza into rubble. They are engaging in collective punishment and calling for a “complete siege” that cuts off all electricity, food, and fuel. To offer US support for such policies, which violate international law, would be unconscionable.

Congress must call for protection of civilians now before a massive human rights catastrophe unfolds. Please call for de-escalation and a rapid end to the violence before this spirals into a regional war and human rights catastrophe.

I am also urging you to recognize that the root cause of this violence is the decades-long occupation and apartheid-like conditions in the occupied Palestinian territories. The United States is complicit with this occupation, which has led to cycles of violence and ongoing oppression, and Congress must face this fact.

Without the roughly $3 billion in aid the US offers Israel could not act in impunity in continuing the occupation. I urge you to oppose unconditional military aid to Israel going forward, and push to use US leverage to bring an end to the occupation. That is the only real path to peace.
For a just and more peaceful world. Thank you.

ACTION: Let’s do what we can to end the violence — and the injustice fueling it.

Jon Rainwater is the Executive Director of Peace Action