2002-04-14
Israeli Palestine Violence

 

Dialogue, Not War, Is the Answer to Peace in the Middle East
U.N. Intervention Needed NOW

14 April, 2002

 
As citizens and organizations based in Hong Kong, we are watching with much sadness and horror the recent escalation of violence that is presently taking place in the Middle East. We especially deplore the attacks by the Israeli armed forces against the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people.
 
The statements of Mary Robinson, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, which is now meeting in Geneva, particularly raise our concern about what is occurring in the Middle East. These include reports of the extrajudicial execution of Palestinians by the Israeli armed forces, the prevention of emergency medical personnel from caring for those who are injured and the arrest of ambulance crews, restrictions placed on the movement of journalists and human rights defenders, the closure of some media offices, the arrest and deportation of foreign peace activists and the cutting off of water and electricity in some Palestinian areas and damage to these systems because of the fighting.
 
We also note the invasion of refugee camps, the killing of innocent people, the shooting of medical personnel, the reoccupation of West Bank towns and cities, the imposition of a news blackout by the Israeli military, damage to sewage systems and the withholding of such basic facilities as food, access to hospitals and safe passage for people to bury the dead, all of which are deeply shocking.
 
This list of human rights violations committed by the Israeli government now and for the past five decades will only grow longer unless a new direction is immediately taken to resolve the issues that divide the people of Israel and the people of Palestine. It is our conviction that peace with justice can only be achieved through negotiations.
 
We are convinced that military might to resolve political questions that have lingered for decades is not the answer. More anguish and tears from the eyes of both Israelis and Palestinians will be the only outcome of this approach. What have more than 50 years of violence achieved in the Middle East except the death of more Israelis and Palestinians? It is time to bury this policy of using weapons to do what only words can accomplish, for it is only through dialogue that all peoples of the Middle East can resolve the issues that divide them; it is only through dialogue that all peoples of the Middle East can live together in peace. Tanks and bombs can destroy people, but they can never kill the right of the Palestinian people to their own state.
 
As members of the international community, we believe that the present violent strategy of the Israeli government will only breed more acts of terrorism throughout the world. Violence is not a solution to violence.
 
By providing military arms, financial aid and diplomatic and political support, the U.S. government is as responsible as the Israeli government for the atrocities committed against the Palestinian people.
 
As the occupying power in this conflict, the responsibility rests with the Israeli government to end this insane cycle of violence by sending its diplomats to do what its soldiers can never do: bring peace and security to the Middle East. We thus call on the Israeli government to immediately, unconditionally and completely withdraw its armed forces from their occupation of all Palestinian areas and for all forms of violence and terror to immediately cease. We call as well on Israel to comply with all U.N. Security Counsel resolutions and the Mitchell Report, which calls for the immediate deployment of international monitoring forces in the Occupied Territories. Moreover, following the example of Germany, we call on the U.S. government to immediately cut all military and financial aid to Israel until U.N. resolutions are honored. We also call upon the United Nations to urgently and effectively intervene to stop the violence and to work toward a peaceful resolution of the conflict. It is only in this way that all people of the Middle East can truly enjoy the lasting peace and security that they desire.
 

Organisations:
Asia-Pacific Mission for Migrants
Asian Human Rights Commission
Asian Migrant Center 
Bethune House
Committee for Anti-Political Persecution
Committee for Peace, Not War
The Frontier
Hong Kong Christian Institute
Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese
Mission for Migrant Filipinos
Social Democratic Forum
Solidarity for Peace Movement