J Street is deeply concerned by the latest escalation in Israeli-Palestinian violence, and condemns the ongoing barrage of rocket fire by terrorist groups against cities in central and southern Israel. Our thoughts are with the Israeli and Palestinian civilians currently living in fear of being caught in the crossfire of yet another round of terrible violence.
This latest escalation began early Tuesday with the targeted killing of three Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) commanders in Gaza, in Israeli airstrikes that killed at least 10 civilians, including women and children, and wounded over a dozen more. PIJ, apparently in coordination with Hamas and other terror groups, has now fired over 300 rockets toward southern and central Israel, forcing Israelis from Sderot to Ashkelon to Tel Aviv to take cover in bomb shelters. The IDF is continuing airstrikes against PIJ rocket launching sites in Gaza.
There can be no doubt that Israel has the right to defend itself from rocket fire and to confront the threat posed by PIJ, Hamas and other terror groups. At the same time, we have seen again and again that these escalations lead to terrible suffering for Israeli and Palestinian civilians, without addressing or resolving underlying issues at the heart of the conflict. It is also alarming that this escalation followed in the wake of political pressure from some of the coalition’s extreme-right figures. We hope that this surge in violence can come to a swift end before it spirals further out of control.
We urge the Biden Administration to do everything in its power to reduce tensions, promote de-escalation, and prevent further suffering and loss for Israelis and Palestinians.