Bombing stopped, but violence continues
Hours ago, Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire.
Fifty two days after Israel began its bombing campaign in an escalation it provoked, at least 2,140 Palestinians are dead, including 514 children. Five Israeli civilians, including one child, and 64 soldiers have died. Israel has destroyed at least 17,000 homes, leaving around a third of Gaza’s 1.8 million Palestinians homeless. Israel has devastated the infrastructure in Gaza, with many hospitals, schools, factories and electric plants all targeted and destroyed.
After so much death and destruction, we are deeply relieved that this current wave of killing has stopped. Three times in the last six years, Israel has conducted extraordinarily asymmetrical and brutal operations against the captive population of Gaza, and each time it has been civilians who have paid the major price.
And while Gaza has had the world’s attention during these escalations, the truth is that for 7 years, and for the foreseeable future if the world doesn’t act, the people of Gaza will continue to live under an intolerable state of siege. While for Israelis this war is over, Israel's decades-long assault on Palestinian human rights continues.
There is no true end of violence for the children in jail without charges, the farmers watching soldiers tear apart their orchards, the refugees dreaming of the chance to hold their loved ones and see their homes once more, the young students who cannot attend school— for all of them, the violence of ongoing occupation, siege, and injustice continues.
The shocking public attacks on Palestinians inside of Israel this summer included random physical assaults, public calls for ethnic cleansing and the killing of children from some of Israel's top leaders, and a growing acceptance of open racism in everyday life. The brave actions of small numbers of Israelis during this time gave us inspiration and hope, but we cannot downplay or ignore the degree to which the majority of Israeli society currently rejects equality as a basic value.
A true and just peace for both peoples will only come when Israel is willing to commit to equality, freedom and justice for all people. As Americans, we must hold our government accountable for enabling Israel to pursue its attacks with impunity. As global citizens, we redouble our commitment to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) as a crucial tool to pressure Israel to change its policies. And as Jews, we affirm that in doing this work we are living out our most profound values: justice, justice you shall pursue.