An Honorable Statement by the Ever-Diminishing Number of Decent Israelis

May 16, 2018

In Blog News

Nine prominent Israelis compare the shooting of Palestinians to South Africa’s Sharpeville Massacre
South Africans protest in Cape Town about the killing of Palestinians in Gaza by Israel’s defence forces.
 South Africans protest in Cape Town about the killing of Palestinians in Gaza by Israel’s defence forces. Photograph: Nic Bothma/EPA

We, Israelis who wish our country to be safe and just, are appalled and horrified by the massive killing of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza (Reports, 15 May). None of the demonstrators posed any direct danger to the state of Israel or to its citizens. The killing of over 50 demonstrators and the thousands more wounded are reminiscent of the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960 in South Africa. The world acted then. We call upon decent members of the international community to act by demanding that those who commanded such shootings be investigated and tried.

The current leaders of the Israeli government are responsible for the criminal policy of shooting at unarmed demonstrators. The world must intervene to stop the ongoing killing.
Avraham Burg Former speaker of the Knesset and chairman of the Jewish Agency
Prof Nurit Peled Elhanan 2001 co-laureate of the Sakharov prize
Prof David Harel Vice-president of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and recipient of the 2004 Israel Prize
Prof Yehoshua Kolodny Recipient of the 2010 Israel prize
Alex Levac Photographer and recipient of the 2005 Israel prize 
Prof Judd Ne’eman Director and recipient of the 2009 Israel prize
Prof Zeev Sternhell Historian and recipient of the 2008 Israel prize
Prof David Shulman Recipient of the 2016 Israel prize
David Tartakover Artist and recipient of the 2002 Israel prize

Michel Norman
Hod Ha’sharon, Israel

 Since 30 March, each week has seen more protests by Gazans at the border with Israel and more killings of largely unarmed protesters by Israeli snipers using live ammunition. As of the morning of 15 May, Nakba Day, more than 100 Palestinians have been killed and some thousands injured. The position has been aggravated by the provocation of the opening of a new US embassy in Jerusalem, hammering another nail into the coffin of an already moribund peace process.

The Independent Jewish Voices steering group wishes to express our horror at the flagrant disregard for the human rights of the Palestinians and the norms of international law, and our support for those many thousands who have been demonstrating their opposition around the world. We call upon the UK government to condemn the actions of the Israeli authorities, to demand an independent inquiry into the use of force on the Gaza border, to make clear that the UK embassy will remain in Tel Aviv, and to redouble all diplomatic efforts to bring the occupation to an end.
Dr Anthony Isaacs, Dr Vivienne Jackson, Dr Katy Fox-Hodess, Dr Tamar Steinitz, Professor Jacqueline Rose, Ann Jungman, Merav Pinchassoff, Professor Adam Fagan, Professor Francesa Klug
Independent Jewish Voices steering group

 In the face of the bloodshed in Gaza, too many in the west have been quick to minimise or even excuse the state-sanctioned murder of unarmed protesters. The White House labelled the innocent lives lost at the hands of Israeli troops as “part of the problem”, as it celebrated its embassy move. The UK government and Labour Friends of Israel blamed the unarmed Palestinian people for daring to protest against their repression and raised the spectre of Hamas.

Greens will continue to support the ideals of freedom, equality and respect for international law. And that includes supporting Palestinian people marking the Nakba by protesting against their illegal oppressors. We support a two-state solution but, with Netanyahu being appeased by the west at every turn, this has never seemed so far away.
Keith Taylor MEP
Green party, South East England

 The true occupation army in Gaza is the over 10,000 soldiers in the Hamas militia. Recruitment is helped by the terrible economic conditions. Those conditions could be better if the Hamas leaders decided to cooperate with Israel rather than to chase an ephemeral dream of reclaiming Palestine and killing all the Jews. Gaza has no real clean water, no sewage system and almost no electricity. Why? Because Hamas spends whatever funding it receives on arms and building tunnels into Israel. There is another way, but neither Hamas nor any other Palestinian political leader seems prepared to even talk about it, much less act to bring it about.
Aryeh Wetherhorn
Elazar, West Bank

 Letters in Tuesday’s Guardian (15 May) cut through the pain, hate, lies and misinformation about Israel/Palestine in the space of few column inches. Maybe there are enough of us prepared to move on as Ehud Barak proposed in July 1999, and work towards a “peace of the brave”?
Joy Helman

 I was so annoyed by the editorial and reporting in the Telegraph on Gaza, that I – a lifelong reader – had to buy the Guardian to get the definitive report. Theirs showed little sympathy with the sufferings of Gaza, whose people were, for the most part, unarmed. Your editorial (15 May) is a masterpiece of prose; thundering and – considering the emotive matter – surprisingly restrained.
Barry Carroll