We, members of the undersigned human rights organizations in Israel, are shocked and horrified in these dreadful days.
Hamas’ horrific crimes against innocent civilians – including children, women, and the elderly – have shaken us all, and we are struggling to recover from the unbearable sights and sounds. Some of us were in the Israeli communities on the Gaza border during the assault; many of us have family, friends, and colleagues who endured and are still in the midst of the harrowing events; and we all know people who were murdered, injured, or abducted. It will take time to fully understand the implications and consequences of Hamas’ heinous attack, for which there can be no justification.
Most of our teams include Israelis and Palestinians; therefore, some of us have relatives and colleagues in Gaza currently living under the ongoing assault of the Israeli military. Children, women, and the elderly are being indiscriminately attacked with nowhere to hide.
Even now – especially now – we must maintain our moral and humane position and refuse to give in to despair or the urge for vengeance. Keeping our faith in the human spirit and its inherent goodness is more vital than ever. One thing is clear: We will never surrender our belief in humanity – even now, when doing so is more challenging than ever. Having always opposed the harming of innocent civilians, it remains our duty in these terrible times – as we count our dead on the Israeli side and worry about wounded, missing, and abducted loved ones, and as bombs are being dropped on residential neighborhoods in Gaza, wiping out entire families with no possibility of burying the dead – to raise our voices loud and clear against the harming of all innocent civilians, both in Israel and Gaza.
We call for the immediate release of all hostages and an end to the bombardment of civilians in Israel and in Gaza. Humanitarian aid must be allowed to reach civilian populations, medical facilities and places of refuge must not be harmed, and vital resources such as water and electricity must not be cut off. The killing of additional civilians will not bring back those who were lost. Indiscriminate destruction and a siege harming innocents will not bring relief, justice, or calm.
As individuals working to promote human rights and who believe in the sanctity of life, we urgently call for an end to all indiscriminate harming of civilian lives and infrastructure. We call for negotiations and all possible action to be taken to bring about the release of the hostages – while prioritizing the civilians held by Hamas. It is the only humane and rational thing to do, and it must be done now.
Mothers Against Violence | Itach Ma’aki – Women Lawyers for Social Justice | Amnesty International Israel | BIMKOM – Planners for Planning Rights | B’Tselem | Gisha | The Association for Civil Rights in Israel | Public Committee Against Torture in Israel | Parents Against Child Detention | Hamoked – Center for the Defence of the Individual | Zazim – Community Action | Haqel – In Defense of Human Rights | Yesh Din | Combatants for Peace | Mehazkim | Machsom Watch | Women Wage Peace | Akevot Institute for Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Research | Standing Together | Ir Amim | Emek Shaveh | The Parents Circle-Families Forum | Rabbis for Human Rights | Physicians for Human Rights–Israel | Breaking the Silence | Torat Tzedek | A Land for All – Two States One Homeland | Academia for Equality | Your Neighbor As Yourself