As a federation dedicated to peace, Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) opposes all acts of violence. We are horrified by the images coming out of both Israel and Gaza and are heartbroken that innocent people are paying the price for the decades without a just resolution to a fundamentally unsustainable situation. In no uncertain terms, we strongly condemn the killing of innocent people and the taking of hostages.
FoEI supports the self-determination of the Palestinian people in the territories occupied by Israel since the 1967 war. We are firmly opposed to Israel’s military occupation and ongoing theft of land for settlement activity, alongside toleration of settler violence and terror against Palestinians. We are in full agreement with the vision outlined in UN Resolution 67/19 (2012): “the achievement of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the attainment of a peaceful settlement in the Middle East that ends the occupation that began in 1967 and fulfils the vision of two States: an independent, sovereign, democratic, contiguous and viable State of Palestine living side by side in peace and security with Israel on the basis of the pre-1967 borders.”
We have also spoken out repeatedly about the dire situation in the Gaza Strip. For sixteen years, Israel has denied the free movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza. During this blockade, Israel has bombed Gaza with impunity, destroying civilian infrastructure and killing innocent people. In 2016, the UN Secretary-General called it “a collective punishment for which there must be accountability”. The profound trauma inflicted on the people of Gaza cannot be overstated.
Throughout the blockade of Gaza, Israel has refused to put in place a long-term solution that would lead to peace and safety for all. And the international community has stood by and not used their leverage and influence with Israel to ensure that Israel abides by UN Security Council resolutions that demand a permanent end to the occupation of Palestinian lands.
Now, the worst is happening: a brutal asymmetric war has broken out between Israel and Gaza. The attack on Israeli civilians was horrific; the response by Israel against the Palestinians has been overwhelming and devastating. There will be no winners in this conflict: only more death and suffering.
While many countries have pledged their support and say they stand with Israel, Israel is attacking Gaza with the full force of its military power. A massive and shocking crisis is unfolding in Gaza, as a population (nearly half of which are under the age of 18) that has been beaten down for years is now being cut off from electricity, water, and fuel. Bombs rain down on the people and infrastructure of Gaza, leaving thousands without homes or shelter and killing untold numbers of people. This attack on the civilian population of Gaza is a war crime and must stop immediately.
In this critical moment, we call for an end to the violence, for all parties to respect their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law, and demand that the root causes of this conflict be finally resolved. We call on Israel to accept the UN resolutions requiring them to withdraw from the territories occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem, and apply the right of return and compensation to Palestinian refugees.
This war will likely end with thousands of innocent people dead, but the long-term situation will not change until Palestinians and Israelis alike have full autonomy over their own lives and land, and the ability to live with security and dignity. We call on all nations and international bodies to use their influence now to resolve the current conflict and to demand an end to the occupation and a fair, just, and permanent solution for the Palestinian people.