Open Letter on Gaza
October 18, 2023
We, the signatories, represent a united voice of civil society, public figures, community and religious associations, academics, human rights advocates and legal professionals, and other stakeholders, who have come together to express our views on the current situation in Gaza.
We regret and condemn the killing of all Palestinian and Israeli civilians. We denounce all war crimes, regardless of the perpetrators, including the targeting of civilians and the taking of civilian hostages. We demand an immediate ceasefire, the end of the Israeli military illegal occupation of Palestinian territories and reparations for all victims and victims’ families.
At the time of writing, the Israeli government is conducting human rights abuses and war crimes in the Gaza Strip, including: the current bombardment of Gaza, deliberate targeting of civilians, hospitals, and schools, as well as cutting off water and electricity, and preventing the entry of food and medicines. At least 3,000 deaths, including more than 1,000 children, 12,500 injuries, and 1,000,000 displacements have been reported. The total blockade of the Gaza Strip disallows humanitarian aid for Gaza's more than 2.2 million residents. We consider this level of force to be highly and unlawfully excessive in relation to the concrete military targeting of Hamas.
Several documented war crimes have been conducted by the State of Israel in Gaza, including: The use of white phosphorus. The use of white phosphorus in Gaza, one of the most densely populated urban areas in the world, is a war crime . Collective punishment. Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant has stated on the siege of Gaza that “There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed.” Collective punishment is a war crime, as is the starvation of civilians. Lack of electricity compromises the ability of hospitals and medical facilities to provide treatment and care to injured civilians, including women and children.
Ethnic cleansing . The Israeli government has ordered the mass displacement of 1.1 million Gazawi people from the north to the south of the Gaza Strip, and evacuating civilians have been targeted in areas designated ‘safe’ by the Israeli army. Israeli officials have publicly called for a second ‘Nakba’, referring to the forced displacement of Palestinians during the Arab-Israeli war of 1948. Palestinians and United Nations human rights representatives have described this order as ethnic cleansing. Considering these elements, and the violent, inciting and dehumanising language being used publicly by prominent Israeli officials, the current situation in Gaza has been described as a genocide against the Palestinian people of Gaza by several publications and, in particular, by Jewish advocacy groups.
We call upon European and other authorities to demand an immediate ceasefire between Israel and the Gaza Strip. We further call upon all national and international authorities to express their united support against the documented war crimes taking place in Gaza, in Israel and in the West Bank, and their demand for a just peace process, including reparations for victims and victims’ families, and the end of illegal occupation. No stable or peaceful society can be built without a foundation of justice, rights, and fair and equal treatment for all, and a ceasefire can only be the first step towards this goal.
We assert further that the current situation in Gaza, as well as escalating tensions and additional human rights abuses in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, must be contextualised within the ongoing military occupation of the Palestinian territories by the state of Israel since 1967, the continuous violence and the human rights abuses against Palestinian communities, which are the root causes of the escalated violence and are described by international human rights organisations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as an apartheid system.
We expect that a process of investigation for all war crimes committed against all civilians will be concretely pursued by the UN and the International Criminal Court (ICC) with the active support of third countries. We emphasise the conclusion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that the states have a duty to employ all means reasonably available to them to prevent genocide, including outside their own borders . Further military support for the state of Israel is not coherent with the obligations of all the country signatories of the Rome Statute and the Geneva Conventions.
We beseech the international community to reflect on their commitment to the responsibility to protect. We, the signatories, stand in solidarity, in utter and absolute condemnation of the war crimes and crimes against humanity described above, as well as any further such acts, and genocide against any community. We raise our voices in line with our commitment to the principle of “never again,” and in adherence to the rule of international law.
Dr. Ewa Górska, Assistant Professor, Jagiellonian University
Pascale Fakhry, director of ALFILM – Arab Film Festival Berlin
Emilie Palamy Pradichit, Founder & Executive Director of Manushya Foundation (Thailand & Laos)
Conny Braam, Author and former chairperson of the Dutch Anti-Apartheid Movement of The Netherlands
Martijn Dekker, lecturer Conflict Studies & Contentious Politics, University of Amsterdam
Sahil Amar Aïssa, Television and Filmmaker [Fight or Flight]
Shariff Nasr, Filmmaker and writer [El Houb]
Ramsey Nasr, Actor, writer and poet
Rok Kozelj, Africa 1 Division, European External Action Service
Lisa Bortune, Outreach manager Y-IDEA/One hour for Europe Italia
Emanuele Russo, Human Rights Education Expert
Asafier, study association Middle Eastern studies, at the University of Amsterdam
Dr. Caroline Roset, lecturer Arabic, University of Amsterdam
Anna Elisabetta Galeotti, University Professor of Political Philosophy, University of Eastern Piedmont
Margherita Benzi, Associate professor in Logic and Philosophy of Science, University of Eastern Piedmont
Cristina Meini, professor at University of Eastern Piedmont, Italy
Carlo Penco, Professor in the Department of Philosophy, University of Genova, Italy
Dora Marucco, formerly Professor of History Political and Social Institutions, University of Turin, Italy
Claudio Ciancio, Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at the Dept.of Humanities at University of Eastern Piedmont, Vercelli, Italy
Federica Liveriero, University Professor in in Political Philosophy, at the University of Pavia, Italy
Maciej Mandelt, Communication and Advocacy Specialist, Nomada Association
NOMADA Association for Multicultural Society Integration
Fabienne van Eck, Regional Program Manager Middle East and Trainer, Musicians Without Borders
Babel Cooperative, Turin Italy
Roberto Forte, President of the Babel Cooperative of Turin, Founder of the Treno della Memoria, Vicepresident of AICEC Agency for the Cultural and Economic Interchange with Cuba
Stan Baggen, Lawyer and activist at De Vierde Golf an association for democracy and human rights Gabriele Casano, PhD candidate in “Security, Risk and Vulnerability”, University of Genoa Emma Humphris, PhD candidate in “Performance studies” at Stanford University
Ada Lucia Ferraresi, PhD candidate, affiliated to ERC DEEPMED project at University of Sevilla
Riccardo Giovanni Bruno, PhD candidate at Politecnico di Torino
Ricardo Diaz, PhD candidate Urban Geography, University of Amsterdam
Pablo Lima, PhD candidate at the Universidad de Sevilla
Andrea Di Bernardo, PhD Candidate at Interuniversity Department of Urban and Regional Studies and Planning, Politecnico di Torino
Sara Biancifiori, PhD candidate at the Politecnico di Torino
Julia de Freitas Sampaio, PhD. candidate in sociology and migration studies, at the Humboldt University of Berlin