On December 27, 2008, the Government of Israel – headed by Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak, and backed by the outgoing Bush Administration in the US – launched a new warlike offensive against the Arab Palestinian people. For more than ten days, the Gaza Strip is again and again bombarded from the air, sea and land. As a result of these bombings there were killed, so far, more than 500 people, including many women and children. Thousands were wounded, many houses and public structures were destroyed. All this is taking place in the most thickly-populated territory in the world, where even before the Palestinian population suffered extreme hardships in their daily life due to the prolonged siege imposed by Israel on the Strip.
The Olmert Government, which embarked on its career with the criminal war in Lebanon, is ending it with a new warlike activity in the Gaza Strip [the new Knesset general elections are due on February 10]. As it failed in the Lebanon War, the Olmert Government will also fail in the Gaza Strip. In the end it will be proven once again that there is no military solution to the conflicts in this region, and that only by dialogue can the fire be stopped and later an agreement be promoted. In the course of 2008 there were several months of truce, but violations by Israel had precipitated reactions by the Hamas shooting on Israeli towns – this, in turn, was used as a pretext for launching the all-out offensive.
Certain acts and statements by the Hamas leaders have helped Israel embark on its war offensive. Still, these are not the reason but the pretext for a military attack which is the result of a long-established policy and plans laid out. The aim of this policy – aimed at breaking and subjugating the Palestinian people by brute force, putting an end to its struggle for liberation from the occupation and creation of its independent state.
Moreover, it is difficult to avoid the impression that some in the Israeli leadership are using the war activity in order to improve their standing towards the coming Knesset elections – in the hope that "success" in war would also win them some "gratitude" at the ballots.
The media, in its overwhelming majority, supports the war without reservations. Moreover, in the run-up to the war, the media has helped set the inflammatory atmosphere leading up to its outbreak and later the second week's transition to a ground invasion. All the Zionist parties, including such a "left-wing" party as Meretz, have supported the war from its inception. Only at its later stages did some of them start making occasional stammering reservations against its continuation and extension.
Still, opposition to the war is clearly manifested. Already on the first day did thousands of Jews and Arabs demonstrate, in Tel Aviv and other places throughout the country, in protest against the murderous attack on the Gaza Strip and calling for its immediate end. Protest actions continue to take place day after day at various locations throughout the country. The local press hardly covers the protest actions at all. For its part, the police started a series of investigations against participants in the demonstrations – even when these have taken place with a permit and when there were no grounds for any charge to be made, other than the participants' audacity in confronting the war.
We call for an immediate cessation of the bombings of the Gaza Strip and the immediate withdrawal of the Israeli forces from its territory!
We call for a renewal of the cease-fire, while talking with both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, followed by an intensive effort for achieving an agreement on an exchange of prisoners!
We call for a fundamental change of policy – from a policy of continuing war and occupation to a policy of recognizing the national rights of the Arab Palestinian people, including the creation of its independent state in the borders of June 1967. We call for negotiations for a comprehensive peace agreement in the region, including Syria, on the basis of withdrawal to the borders of June 1967. Only a comprehensive peace can bring true security to all peoples of the region – and therefore also to Israel, to all communities in all its regions.