We at Travel2Palestine are horrified by the escalating violence and loss of life in occupied Palestine and Israel. We urge all those perpetrating the killings and injuries to immediately cease fire.
It is time for the international community to take stock. These continued rounds of violence will recur as long as the underlying injustices and consequent tensions remain.
This is not a war of two equal sides. One side is the occupier and the other is occupied. The impact of hostilities affects Israeli and Palestinian civilians, but the overwhelming might of Israeli Forces inevitably results in greater numbers of Palestinian victims. Similarly the impact of Israel’s occupation and its discriminatory policies in Israel continue to blight the daily lives of Palestinians.
What should the international community do to end this cycle of violence and injustice?
The answer to resolving these issues lies in international law and in politics.
- The international community must play an urgent role in pressing all parties to lay down their arms.
- We need accountability for the killing and injuring of Palestinian and Israeli civilians. Only accountability and justice will stand in the way of further tragic repeated cycles of violence. The investigation by the International Criminal Court is more needed and urgent than ever.
- The UK and other European countries should recognise Palestine, and use that fresh political impetus to end Israel’s violations of Palestinian territory. This would send a clear political signal that Israel’s impunity – to build settlements on Palestinian land, demolish and seize Palestinian homes, alongside many other violations – is at an end.
- The international community must be clear that Israel must allow Palestinian elections to take place in East Jerusalem. The UK should work with European partners and the US to put pressure on the Israeli government to lift its ban on the holding of elections in East Jerusalem. Pressure should be put on the Palestinian President to set a new date for the suspended elections at the earliest opportunity.
- The UK should join with the international community in putting pressure on the Israeli government to end the evictions and demolitions of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem in line with international law.
- Further pressure should be put on the Israeli government to end the building of settlement structures in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
- In line with the UK government’s long-held view that settlements are illegal and an obstacle to the peace process, the UK government should end UK trade with illegal settlements in conformity with the obligations conferred by international law. Such a step is not a sanction but a measure designed to ensure that the UK does not assist in serious breaches of international law.
De-escalation in East Jerusalem
De-escalation of the situation in East Jerusalem is required. It is clear that the current wave of attacks and counter attacks by Israel and some armed combatants in Gaza has spiralled from the ongoing crisis in the city. The situation in East Jerusalem is unacceptable because of the instability it creates and because of the basic human rights that are violated. Israel must not only cancel planned evictions but review the unjust and racist laws that underpin them. Israel must end home demolitions. And halt the Jerusalem Police Force’s terrorisation of the Palestinian Jerusalem population in the city.