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On the violence in Israel and Palestine

May 17, 2021

IPPNW endorses statement by Middle East Treaty Organization; echoes call for immediate ceasefire

[The following statement on the deadly conflict between Israel and Palestine was issued by METO on 13 May. IPPNW endorses this statement by our partners in the region, and the views expressed here fully reflect our own.]

The latest violent conflict between Palestine and Israel further destabilises an already volatile region. The Middle East continues to face insecurity, instability and carnage from the manmade catastrophe in the Saudi-led war on Yemen, the on-going Syrian war, Iraq’s internal turmoil, and in faltering states such as Libya and Somalia. METO unequivocally condemns all forms of violent conflict raging across the region by all parties involved. We stand in solidarity with the civilians who are paying the ultimate cost of war with their lives and shattered hopes of a better future.

At METO, we believe there are alternative paths to war that are paved through dialogue that narrow the gaps that divide us and strengthen the broad common ground that unites us. METO is a living example of this—we are an organization of great diversity including; women and men; Israelis, Arabs and Iranians; Jews, Muslims and Christians; gay and straight. None of these characteristics were chosen by any of us.

We did not put ourselves in any faction, we were put there through a process of history, education, and culture extending back over millennia together with an accident of birth which resulted in us being born in the historical time and geographical places we found ourselves. The faction that we have chosen is the faction in favour of nonviolence.

What we will do is call out the violence in all its forms. We denounce the evictions of people from their homes. We denounce the occupation of territories. We denounce those who launch rockets, drones, missiles and airstrikes against civilians anywhere across the region. We denounce those who build walls to divide people instead of bridges to connect them. We denounce those who kill civilians under state approval or otherwise. We denounce those who take advantage of a lawless situation for their own selfish interests. We denounce the dehumanisation of people of different backgrounds allowing for them to be “exterminated” as if they were vermin. And more than anything else, we denounce the foreign powers who over 100 years ago drew straight lines all over a map to demarcate their areas of interest and who have been interfering in our region ever since with wars, flooding our region with weapons, stealing our resources and murdering our people in their millions.

There are paths that can bring those who live in the lands of Israel and Palestine closer to peace. On a regional level, the Arab Peace Initiative could be revived as a forum to start the long process of dialogue. Meanwhile, global and regional powers have the responsibility to not only support diplomatic and grassroots efforts to advance peace but also to stem the flow of weapons that have aggravated this situation.

There will be no progress for anyone unless there’s progress for everyone.

The overwhelming majority of people all over the world are yearning for the same things: happiness, meaning in life, love, health care, physical security, education for their children and themselves, and a dignified standard of living.  The overwhelming majority of people in Palestine and Israel are no different.

We know that writing this position is in many ways futile, we aren’t in positions of power, yet nevertheless we call for an immediate ceasefire on both sides. We call for negotiations between representatives of all the people who live in Israeli and Palestinian territories in order to agree on how the territory will be governed and administered for the benefit of all the people.

And finally, we call for all people of good faith to join METO in our goal of eradicating all weapons of mass destruction from our region in order that we may turn into reality our vision of a peaceful, integrated and thriving Middle East built on human and environmental security.

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