May 2024

More death, displacement and destruction will not bring us closer to peace

On Monday 6 May, as news broke that Hamas accepted the ceasefire deal brokered by Egypt and Qatar, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that the current proposal is “far from meeting Israel's core demands”. While announcing it would send a delegation of mediators to attend talks in Egypt, Israel almost simultaneously began a ground invasion of Rafah - ordering further evacuations, intensifying bombing, closing border crossings required for the entry of life-sustaining humanitarian aid, and jeopardising hopes for a much-anticipated ceasefire.  

For our colleagues in Gaza, the prospect of a ceasefire brings hope, yet the reality of the situation on the ground is one of intense suffering, constant grief, and heightened danger. A ceasefire – representing the first step on a path to peace – has never felt closer, nor further away. 

While the calls to action outlined in our 12 April statement remain unchanged, the urgency of fulfilling these responsibilities has been amplified significantly as the unfolding human catastrophe increases in severity. The joint statement, released by QUNO in partnership with sister Quaker organizations, calls upon Israel, Hamas, and other Palestinian armed groups to commit to a permanent ceasefire as a long-term, just, and sustainable peace is sought. It urges the Israeli government to withdraw from Gaza, end the blockade, and open land crossings to ensure swift, unconditional, and uninterrupted humanitarian access at scale. Additionally, the statement reiterates our plea for the safe and unconditional release of all hostages and political prisoners, as well as demanding accountability for violations of international law and human rights abuses.  

Given the influence wielded by Western powers, like the United States and the United Kingdom, these states have an obligation to press for an immediate and permanent ceasefire, to end arms sales to Israel, and to uphold international law, including the International Court of Justice (ICJ) provisional measures.  

At this pivotal moment, communities around the world must urge elected officials at every level to work to secure a ceasefire, prevent further bloodshed, and pave the road towards a just and lasting peace. Diplomacy, negotiation, and adherence to international law are the only means of saving lives and ending this spiral of violence.   

We invite all Friends meetings, churches, schools, and organisations to join us in this call by signing onto the statement

Photo Credit: Motasem Murtaja

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