How do we end this destructive cycle and achieve a just and durable peace?

According to the United Nations, after 29 days of “surgical” and “precision” bombardment from land, sea and air, as many as 1814 people in Gaza have been killed, over 85 percent of which are civilians, including 408 children. On the Israeli side, 64 soldiers and 3 civilians have been killed. These figures, along with the sophistication of Israeli firepower, cast serious doubt on the lawfulness of Israeli actions in pursuit of self-defense.

It is obvious that the two sides in the conflict are not militarily equal and that the unarmed Palestinian civilian population has suffered the most. According to a joint declaration of international experts from around the world, including Richard Falk, “Gaza’s civilian population has been victimized in the name of a falsely construed right to self-defense, in the midst of an escalation of violence provoked in the face of the entire international community. The so-called Operation Protective Edge erupted during an ongoing armed conflict, in the context of a prolonged belligerent occupation that commenced in 1967.”

The UN Fact-Finding Mission considered Israel’s ‘Operation Cast Lead’ in 2008-2009 directed against the people of Gaza, and the same can be said about the current military offensive. “Everyone in Gaza is traumatized and living in a state of constant terror. This result is intentional, as Israel is again relying on the ‘Dahiya doctrine,’ which deliberately has recourse to disproportionate force to inflict suffering on the civilian population in order to achieve political…rather than military goals.” ….. continue reading