Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson: Gaza blockade must end

Israelis and Palestinians are still burying loved ones killed during Gaza’s third war in six years. Since 8 July, more than 1,800 Palestinian and 65 Israeli lives have been sacrificed. Many in the world are heart-broken in the powerless certainty that and despite the latest ceasefire, it seems that more willcould die yet; that more are being killed every hour.This tragedy results from the deliberate obstruction of a promising move towards peace, when a reconciliation agreement among the Palestinian factions was announced in April.

This was a major concession by Hamas, opening Gaza to joint control under a consensus government that did not include any Hamas members. The new government also pledged to adopt the three basic principles demanded by members of the International Quartet (UN, US, Europe, Russia): non-violence, recognition of Israel, and adherence to past agreements. Tragically, Israel rejected this opportunity for peace and has until now succeeded in preventing the new government’s deployment in Gaza.

Two factors are necessary to make the unity effort possible: at least a partial lifting of the seven-year sanctions and blockade that isolate the 1.8 million people in Gaza; and an opportunity for public sector workers on the Hamas payroll to be paid. These requirements for a human standard of life continue to be denied. Instead, Qatar’s offer to provide funds for the payment of employees was blocked by Israel and access to and from Gaza has been further tightened by Egypt and Israel.

There is no humane or legal justification for how the Israeli Defence Force is conducting this war, pulverizing with bombs, missiles and artillery large parts of Gaza, including thousands of homes, schools and hospitals, displacing families and killing Palestinian non-combatants. Much of Gaza has lost its access to water and electricity completely. This is a humanitarian catastrophe.

There is never an excuse for deliberate attacks on civilians in conflict. These are war crimes. This is true for both sides. Hamas’s indiscriminate targeting of Israeli civilians is equally unacceptable. However, two Israeli civilians and a foreign worker were killed by Palestinian fire as opposed to an overwhelming majority of civilians among the Palestinians killed more than 400 of whom were children. The legal need for international judicial proceedings … [continue reading]

— by Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson writing for The Guardian

Jimmy Carter is a former US president. Mary Robinson is a former president of Ireland. Both are members of The Elders, a group of independent leaders working together for peace and human rights.

 

 

Palestinians search for victims of an Israeli attack

 

 

 

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