Ashland Peace House Supporting International Peace Efforts

October 18, 2023

“We have to be aware that we still are governed by international law.”

-Sven Kuhn VanBergstok-Burgdorff, the recently retired EU Envoy to Palestine.

We Need a Third Way Forward

In this issue, we offer not only our own statement regarding the tragedy and horror of the Gaza massacre, but those of others speaking out in a call for de-escalation and extreme care for all involved while observing principles of International Law.

One third of the people killed so far in Gaza have reportedly been children. The hospitals are all closing down without water or electricity as generators run out of fuel. There are at least 50,000 pregnant women with no access to healthcare or a place to give birth, according to the International Red Cross. This could mean the possible death of some 100,000. Surely this should not be a satisfaction to anyone.

Many groups around the world have developed Arab or Palestinian-Israeli solidarity networks to create an alternative to the binary aggression and hatred that has sadly led both Hamas and Israel to this unimaginable violence. Without a third way, not only Palestinians and Israelis, but others in the Middle East are destined to even more violence, displacement, starvation and death.

Peace House urges support for observation of the principles governing International Law.

We urge that:

  1. The International community speak out against the political and humanitarian dangers of further escalation in this conflict.
  2. All hostages be freed immediately.
  3. Israel and Hamas agree to a ceasefire.
  4. Water, food, healthcare, psychological care and shelter be prioritized by the State of Israel for the survivors of the Hamas attack.
  5. International shipments of humanitarian aid be allowed into Gaza to support immediate access to food, water, medicine, and communications for those displaced by Israeli bombing.

‘We Must be Governed by International Law’

Last Friday, Sven Kuhn VanBergstok-Burgdorff, the recently retired EU Envoy to Palestine was interviewed by Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman:

Let me start by saying I’m fully aware of this deep hate and frustration and despair which befell the Israeli society. And when they speak of their 9/11, of what happened last Saturday, I understand, of course, that view and that emotional tension they are under right now, and that makes it so difficult to have a rational discussion, not only in Israel, but also in Europe and in the U.S.

But we have to be aware that we still are governed by international law. We have left the medieval times. We have rules of conduct for war. We have rules of conduct of how apply humanitarian principles. And no matter what Hamas did, it does not justify the incredible use of lethal force without distinction and without proportionality as far as the Palestinian population is concerned in Gaza. Distinction, proportionality and precaution are sacrosanct principles for the code of conduct of armed hostilities. And Israel, as a democracy, cannot escape that and has to be held accountable. It cannot be that Israel has a carte blanche because terrible acts, brutal, gruesome acts happened to … 1,200 Israelis.* That is not the excuse you can use to flatten Gaza.

  • Note: This number has since climbed to 1300.

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