As a civil society organisation that has always promoted peace and human rights, we are appalled by the violence that is being unleashed on the Gaza Strip, where thousands of civilians, of which an enormously high number of children and youth, are being the victims of a retaliatory military attack that has now entered its third week.
As stated by UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the recent Cairo Summit for Peace, “Nothing can justify the reprehensible assault by Hamas that terrorized Israeli civilians. And those abhorrent attacks can never justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”
The deliberate targeting of civilians is a war crime. The people of Gaza need an immediate ceasefire and the end of the blockade they have lived – and died – under for too long. We therefore urge our politicians to vocally uphold international law, and promote the conditions for a just solution that guarantees sustainable peace, dignity and safety for both the Palestinian and the Israeli people. We also call for the prompt release of all hostages.
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Lastly, we want to stress that we too, as civil society actors, can take action and make a difference in our communities. We encourage the people within our network and all over Europe to promote open, critical dialogue on Israel/Palestine, and to demand a lasting solution and an end to the occupation. We invite you to share any solidarity, awareness-raising and peace-promoting initiatives that you are organising or that you are taking part in. We will give them visibility through our communication channels, to inspire others in taking action and connecting. Help us build cultural bridges and show that the European socio-cultural sector is strong in solidarity.
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