Statement by the transform! europe board:
We are horrified by the murderous attacks by Hamas on civilians in Israel, and for the same reasons we oppose and condemn the escalation of violence by the State of Israel against the people of Gaza, almost half of whom are under the age of 18. We are also horrified by the escalating violence experienced by Palestinians in the West Bank.
We demand and actively advocate an immediate ceasefire, the opening of safe humanitarian corridors, an end to the siege of Gaza and immediate negotiations for a lasting peace based on respect for human rights and United Nations resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The right to self-defence does not mean the right to revenge or collective reprisals, which constitute war crimes under the Geneva Convention. The siege, occupation and continuous bombardment of Gaza must stop now to avoid the deaths of civilians, half of them children, in a population that has suffered for decades from the consequences of occupation and the global political incompetence to achieve a just peace. The collective punishment of the Palestinian people must end. Palestinians also have the right to a free life in peace and safety.
The solution to this conflict must be within the framework of United Nations resolutions and international law. In the words of Ravina Shamdasani, the official spokesperson for the United Nations Human Rights Office: ” Using the starvation of civilians as a method of war, depriving them of goods essential to their survival, is defined by international law as a war crime.” The international community has a moral obligation to prevent war crimes against the population of Gaza, and the European Union must immediately refrain from partisan, war-mongering rhetoric and use its negotiating power to facilitate peace.
Once again, we want to break out of the “with me or against me” framework that deflects public discourse from conflict resolution and peace building to militarisation and violence. This framework has been instrumentalised since the beginning of the war in Ukraine to label those of us who call for peace in Ukraine as pro-Putin, and is now being utilised again to label those who do not unconditionally support Israel’s extreme right-wing government and its criminal actions as anti-Semitic. We dislocate this framework to defend that every life matters, that war is not the solution to conflicts between human beings, and that human rights are above all other considerations.
We uphold international law and the United Nations resolutions on Israel and Palestine, and we call on the European Union to abide by them, to build peace and not war, to end its unbearable double standards when violence is exercised by one country or another, a consequence of the inherent logic of militarised security that ignores international law and the pain of the victims of any conflict.
The rhetoric of war, driven by the war in Ukraine, which encourages hatred of the “other”, the “enemy”, leads us to a xenophobic vision of the world. We criticise the banning of pro-Palestinian demonstrations as another example of authoritarianism that seeks to censor the free expression of European citizens and our inalienable right to demonstrate. We also criticise the silencing of Jewish and Israeli voices that oppose the actions of the Netanyahu government and the continued oppression of Palestinians and their rights. War, as always, does not tolerate criticism and destroys rights.
We therefore call for
To ignore international law is to blow up decades of collective knowledge building after the bellicose 20th century and let the law of the strongest prevail. It is a bad path for humanity. We appeal to it to prevent collective punishments such as the occupation of Gaza, a barbarity that also assumes the risk of an unpredictable, recklessly dangerous and absolutely irresponsible military escalation.
Transform! europe therefore urges us to do everything in our power to achieve immediate peace on our continent and in the Middle East, starting by seeking an immediate ceasefire and an end to the siege of Gaza through a serious, rigorous and determined diplomatic offensive.