Partners for Progressive Israel calls upon Israel to adhere to the ceasefire agreement in place beginning August 5 at 8:00 a.m. While we recognize that the first step is to stop the violence, a lasting resolution to the conflict can only be achieved with renewed negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
From the beginning, we have strongly opposed Israel's decision to bomb Gaza and to invade Gaza on the ground. We, also, condemn Hamas's incessant assault and refusal to comply with previous ceasefire agreements. Despite Israel's efforts to prevent civilian deaths in Gaza, the vast majority of casualties have, in fact, been civilian. This has been seriously damaging to Israel's moral standing in the international community. The slaughter in Gaza negates Israel's policy to prevent this outcome; we saw similar failures in operations Cast Lead and Pillar of Defense. Israel's tactics of dropping leaflets and 'knocking on the roof' prior to aerial strikes have not significantly reduced the massive numbers of deaths and injuries and cannot justify the civilian suffering that has ensued.
Also, the inability of the Israeli government to look beyond military solutions in this operation is the underlying reason behind the ongoing conflict in Gaza. While Hamas's violent resistance to Israel increases their popularity and support among the Palestinian people, Israel's military response compounds that support and leads to more and more Israeli losses. The devastation--the destruction of homes and death of entire families on one side and of young soldiers on the other--radicalizes both populations against a negotiated political agreement. Such an agreement is the only way to prevent the recurrence of these operations and to potentially resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
In the last few months we have been talking to young progressive Jewish activists. They feel torn between the Jewish establishment’s unquestioned support of Israel and the growing condemnation of Israel and its action. We realized that our progressive youth does not know of the many alternatives. They identify Israel with its government and do not know of many of the NGOs and left leaning activists working to return to the values envisioned in the country’s Declaration of Independence, a country, “based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel.”
Partners for Progressive Israel uses its unique ties to the Meretz party and Israeli NGOs working for peace and human rights to connect young American Jews with this alternative. We introduce them to a different Israel, one which shares our progressive values; the dignity and equality of all human beings, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, and the sacredness of human life. Together with the Israeli left, we love Israel and defend it when we deem it right, but we also criticize it when we believe Israel has failed to uphold these fundamental values.