The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom deeply deplores the escalation of violence between Israel and Gaza, and the new wave of Israeli bombing of the Gaza Strip using US supplied bombers.
This area is still under Israeli occupation and is densely populated with 1.7 million people or more, 75% of them under the age of eighteen years and two thirds of them refugees. Most of them survive on flour, beans, oil, tea and sugar supplied by UNRWA, a diet that is barely subsistence level. They have no means to escape the bombing onslaught of the Israeli Defense Force, the fifth strongest military force in the world.
Bolstered by an annual sum of over $3 billion in US aid – much of which is tied up in special contracts to purchase U.S. weaponry – Israel is using its might to attack an impoverished population that has no way to flee the assault.
US laws forbid the sale of its weaponry for use against a civilian population; thus the US is violating its own Laws, and of course Israel is in violation of International Humanitarian Law. Under the Geneva Conventions and International Law, Israel, as an occupying power, is obliged to protect the Palestinian Arab population and is forbidden from moving its own population into the occupied area. We urge both Israel and the US to fulfil their legal obligations and protect the people of Gaza.
We deplore the use of violence by any party, but we are especially concerned about the safety of civilians in Gaza, and their desperation amidst heavy bombings on their buildings, their homes and their children, in one of the most crowded places in the world.
Violence will not lead to peace. We demand negotiations and a respect for human rights and international law, as the only means of attaining peace and security for both parties. We urge all nations to use their international influence to bring Israel and Gaza back from the brink of a disastrous war that will further inflame tensions in an already volatile Middle East.
Moreover, a UN Extraordinary Assembly should be called to condemn the Israeli attacks, and to address the desperation of the besieged people of Gaza. The international community should not abandon the people of Gaza to genocide. WILPF sections around the world will raise their voices to call for a ceasefire and for efforts to protect civilians, as well as other measures to lead the involved parties in negotiations to find a just solution.