We Stand with Palestine!
Statement on the Israeli invasion of Gaza and the Israel-Hamas Truce
The Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development welcomes the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas after 11 days of fierce fighting, the most intense conflict between the two parties since 2014. The ceasefire provides relief from military violence and better conditions to ensure that humanitarian assistance is delivered to the affected communities. But the roots of the conflict run deep – for so long as the root causes are not addressed, peace for the people of Palestine remains fragile if not elusive.
We stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine in their continuing struggle for self-determination and search for durable and just peace. The recent Israeli invasion and bombardment of Gaza that killed at least 243 Palestinians, among them children, is reprehensible.
Israel unleashed its security forces on 7 May 2021 under the pretext of suppressing a Palestinian protest staged last 6 May over the anticipated eviction of six Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah in the occupied East Jerusalem. The area is recognized under international law as part of Palestinian territories but is occupied by Israel.
Israel’s refusal to withdraw its forces from the compound of a mosque considered to be one of the holiest sites in Islam subsequently triggered a response from Palestinian militant groups, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, who in turn fired rockets into Israel. On 16 May, Israel began its airstrikes on the Gaza strip, demolishing at least 18 buildings, 40 schools and hospitals, 19 medical facilities, and striking at least one refugee camp.
As the world fought to save lives from a raging pandemic, we watched with horror as hundreds of Palestinian people lost homes, families, loved ones not to an unforeseen health threat but to the cold, relentless and deliberate violence that could only come from a colonizing power.
This latest attack on the Palestinian people adds another layer to the multiple forms of violence, subjugation, discrimination and other human rights violations, including the fundamental right to self-determination that they have been subjected to for decades. We know that one Palestinian too many have died either from violence unleashed by the occupation forces or from preventable deaths due to poverty, deprivation, sickness or poor access to health and medical facilities. In 2019, the UNCTAD reported about the alarming humanitarian and economic conditions in Palestine, with falling per capita income, increased mass unemployment, deepening poverty and increased environmental toll of occupation in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
Israel has enjoyed massive military and economic support from the US. It is the top foreign recipient of US military assistance since World War II. From 2001, it has received 52 percent of US military assistance, almost entirely for weapons grants. In 2020 alone, the United States provided Israel with $146 billion in military, economic, and missile defense funding.
The historical roots of the Israel-Palestine conflict are deep and complex, marked with its own defining characteristics – but the narrative of occupation and colonization either by military might or economic domination, or both, is a familiar story that has also defined the history of many Asian people. We stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine in their continuing struggle against domination and for self-determination and liberation.
We demand an immediate halt to the massacre and genocide of the Palestinian people. The ceasefire should lead to other measures to address the root causes of the longstanding conflict, a precondition for building durable and just peace.
We demand the immediate withdrawal of all military support to Israel, especially from the US which has been its strongest supporter and ally.
We demand immediate humanitarian assistance to treat the wounded and ensure that food, water, health and other basic needs of the Palestinian people, especially those most affected in this current outbreak of conflict, are met. We insist that the human rights of Palestinian people are respected at all times.
We reject any militarist solutions or any solutions that subvert the rights of the Palestinian people, especially their right to self-determination.