J Street Statement on Ground Operation in Gaza

July 18, 2014

Following the start of last night’s ground operation, our thoughts are with Israeli soldiers and Palestinian civilians in Gaza and with Israelis living under a storm of rockets. We remain deeply concerned about their safety and by the mounting civilian death toll. We regret that a ceasefire was not reached in advance of this escalation and support one being brokered quickly.

Given the operation under way, we also hope that the IDF can address the serious threat posed by the tunnels into Israel in a way that minimizes casualties. We categorically oppose calls for the reoccupation of the Gaza Strip as the goal of this operation.

We urge Israeli and Palestinian leaders to take responsible actions to end the violence and address the root causes of the conflict. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot be resolved militarily; what is needed is bold leadership and diplomacy. Israelis and Palestinians must both make hard choices in order to reach a two-state solution to resolve the conflict, end the occupation and reduce the chances of future violence.