Reaction to escalation of violence in Israel and Gaza
J Street stands with Israel and its right to defend itself from all threats to its people and territory. Our sympathies go out to the Israeli victims and families caught in the violence. We reiterate our call on Hamas to immediately cease rocket attacks on Israel and to ensure that other groups in Gaza desist as well.
We also remain concerned about the impact on the civilian population in Gaza and urge the IDF to exercise judicious restraint in limiting its response to military targets in an effort to prevent civilian casualties.
Israel’s current military operation is a response to the hundreds of rockets that have rained down on Israel from the Gaza Strip over the past year. Every day, Israel’s southern residents carry with them the fear that a sudden Qassam rocket could change their world forever.
Innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians too often bear the high costs of this ongoing conflict. Sirens have sounded in Israel as hundreds of rockets have been launched from Gaza, killing and injuring several Israelis. Already, there are reports of fatalities among Palestinian civilians, with many wounded as well. All of those Israelis and Palestinians who are suffering are in our thoughts and prayers.
At this sensitive moment, we call on President Obama to mobilize international partners to broker a ceasefire quickly. It is critical now to prevent escalation of the violence, which could increase casualties on both sides and further strain already fraught tensions in the region.
We remain convinced that the best chance of breaking the spiral of violence is through achieving a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This latest military action must ultimately be assessed by whether it advances Israel’s long-term security. Today, however, the first goal should be to stop rocket fire on Israel, limit civilian casualties and avoid a deeper military conflict.