Americans for Peace Now (APN) today released the following statement:
The breakdown of yet another Hamas-Israel ceasefire discloses a stark truth: on their own, Hamas and the government of Israel are unable or unwilling to end this fighting. With each side determined to reject any outcome that allows the other to claim even a modicum of victory, Hamas and the Israeli government are locked in a vicious cycle of violence, with civilians on both sides paying the price. After numerous short-lived ceasefires, it now seems clear that this cycle will not be ended by direct or indirect “negotiations,” whether under the auspices of Egypt or some other third party.
The continuation of the fighting and bloodshed confirms two equally stark truths – ones that we have cited repeatedly in this conflict and in previous rounds of Hamas-Israel fighting. First, violence and terrorism will not defeat Israel and cannot improve the lives of Palestinians or deliver an end to occupation and statehood. What it can do is sow fear and anger, including among Israelis who are sympathetic to the cause of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinians conflict, and provoke Israel into using its superior military might, to devastating effect. Second, Israeli military power cannot bring about the capitulation of Hamas in the Gaza Strip or force Palestinians, whether in the Gaza Strip or the West Bank, to give up their aspirations for freedom, dignity, and normal lives. Sophisticated missile defense can insulate Israel from some immediate dangers, but Israelis running to bomb shelters know that the suggestion that Israel can live in a state of perpetual conflict, secure under an “iron dome,” is a fantasy.
Finally, this continued fighting underscores the starkest truth of all: while the Israeli Government and Hamas engage in a violent game of trying to force the other side to cry “uncle,” it is civilians who are paying the highest price. Weeks of rocket fire have terrorized Israelis and confined them, over and over, to bomb shelters. Weeks of aerial and ground war, waged by one of the most powerful armies on earth, has cost thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip their lives, not to mention the tens of thousands injured and the more than 100,000 left homeless.
Given this context, the international community can no longer stand by hoping and wishing that Hamas and the government of Israel will eventually come to terms and end the conflict.
APN urges the Obama Administration to work with other members of the United Nations Security Council to draft and adopt a resolution calling for an immediate end to Palestinian rocket and missile fire against Israel and to Israeli military action against the Gaza Strip.
The resolution should lay out in clear terms international expectations and plans going forward, both in terms of stabilizing/rebuilding the Gaza Strip and moving forward to end, once and for all, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Such a resolution should include, in addition to a call for an end to hostilities:
- A demand for a commitment by Israel and Egypt to end their respective blockades of the Gaza Strip, linked to a commitment by the United Nations to establish a credible international mechanism – in conjunction with the Palestinian Authority and Israel – to supervise goods going in and out of the Gaza Strip, with the explicit goal of preventing Hamas from rebuilding its military capabilities or building a new system of tunnels, while improving the lives of Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip;
- A framework for international plans to facilitate and finance reconstruction in the Gaza Strip;
- A clear reiteration of support for a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on the 1967 lines, and a clear rejection of actions by either party that undermine such an outcome; and
- A strong statement of support for serious negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority – however Palestinians choose to comprise it – that can lead to an end of the occupation and deliver two states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side within recognized borders, bolstered by robust security arrangements to prevent future conflict.