J Street has been deeply concerned by the recent escalation of violence in Gaza and South Israel between Israel and Hamas and other armed factions. We welcome reports of a ceasefire after casualties on both sides this weekend. We hope the ceasefire will take hold and call on all parties to respect it.
Hamas must stop the rocket attacks it and other groups have launched against Israel. These attacks — like the dozens of mortar fire barrages directed at Israeli territory which recently wounded four Israeli civilians — cynically place both Palestinian and Israeli civilians in a continual cycle of violence. Similarly, the ongoing use of arson kites and other incendiary devices to cause damage to Israeli agriculture and property is destructive, unacceptable and must cease.
In response, Israeli airstrikes have resulted in civilian casualties, including the deaths of two Palestinian teenagers. We continue to call on the Israeli government to take all reasonable steps to de-escalate the situation, including acting to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza rather than exacerbating it. Steps which erode the humanitarian situation in Gaza and devastate the quality of life in the territory only empower Hamas, increase instability and ultimately undermine Israelis’ own security by creating a desperate and explosive situation terrorists can exploit.
As years of violence have made clear, there is no military solution to this conflict. We call on the US government and the international community to take urgent action, working with Israelis and Palestinians to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza, reduce tensions and prevent further escalation. Only determined diplomacy can head-off disaster and advance the interests of Israeli and Palestinian civilians.