The Nobel Women’s Initiative calls for an immediate ceasefire to stop the violence in Gaza, now entering its third week. The “cycles of violence” approach to containing Palestinian anguish resulting from 50 years of Israeli occupation does not work and will never lead to sustainable peace for Palestinians and Israelis. Deliberate targeting of civilian areas by anyone is a violation of international law. Israel’s continuing collective punishment of the Palestinian people because of its ongoing war of attrition against Hamas is a war crime.
Instead of supplying weapons and other support to fuel the violence, the international community must work to end it and to create conditions to lead to sustainable peace. These conditions must include enforcing the various UN resolutions against Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and its ongoing building of settlements on that land and takeovers of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem. As Nelson Mandela rightly said in 1985, “Only a free man can negotiate: a prisoner cannot enter into contracts.”
Ending the current conflict is critical, but it is not true “peace.” That will not happen as long as Israel continues to receive open and tacit support for its policies of oppression against the people of Palestine. Supporting policies of occupation means supporting the violation of the basic human rights, human dignity and lack of freedom of the people of Palestine. Under such conditions, devastating violence will continue and sustainable peace for both Palestinians and Israelis will remain a “utopian dream.”