17 July 2014, 18:29
Members of Habonim Dror Southern Africa (HDSA) are deeply saddened and distressed by the current situation in Israel and Gaza. We condemn, in the strongest terms, the deliberate targeting of innocent Israeli civilians by Hamas, one of whom was killed near the Gaza border yesterday. We further express our dismay at reports of Hamas officials deliberately encouraging civilians to stay near bombing targets, when they have been warned not to. News today that Hamas has rejected a proposed ceasefire warrants equally strong condemnation from all those opposed to the deplorable cycle of violence in the region.
Whilst we commend the decision of the Israeli government and military to agree to a ceasefire, we condemn the high levels of casualties since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge. Since the beginning of the operation, some 178 Palestinians have died in bomb attacks, most of them civilians. Such a huge loss of innocent life is tragic and unacceptable, despite Hamas' cynical tactics in this conflict.
We stand in solidarity with the innocent people who are living in constant fear and whose lives are currently under threat. This latest flare-up in Gaza should serve as yet another reminder that real peace is the only thing which will protect Israel from fear and harm in the long run.
We desperately need a viable two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict - a solution that guarantees peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians. Security experts in Israel have repeatedly emphasised that a functional, independent Palestinian state taking responsibility over its own internal security is much more likely to guarantee the security of all Israelis. We implore the Israeli government and Hamas to embrace this vision, and call on both sides to return to the negotiating table immediately. The events of the last three weeks serve as strong reminder of the urgency of a peace deal to Israel's long-term security and legitimacy.