HU Statement on the Situation in Israel and Palestine

Humanity United welcomes the temporary ceasefire between the Israeli government and Hamas in Gaza. While tenuous, this pause creates an opportunity to move toward a sustainable peace. We add our voice to the growing calls for the release of all hostages as well as a permanent ceasefire.

We have hesitated to release a statement until now as we sought to find the right words in this precarious moment. However, over the past two months, we have watched with horror as the conflict in Israel and Palestine has raged on with mounting atrocities and vast civilian suffering. We mourn the loss of more than 1,200 Israelis resulting from Hamas’ unprecedented and indiscriminate terror attack on October 7, and we recognize the pain that remains, with more than 150 individuals from Israel, including children, still being held in Hamas’ custody. We also mourn deeply for the more than 14,000 Palestinian people killed thus far – more than 4,000 of whom were children – in the wake of Israel’s disproportionate and indiscriminate response to the terror attack. Additionally, we condemn the killing of journalists and the deteriorating conditions for media and humanitarian responders in the region.

We have heard from many partners in the region about the suffering, violence, and displacement they have endured. Collective punishment is counter to international law, and the Israeli government’s excessive use of force against civilians – including siege tactics as well as devastating bombing – is unconscionable. At the same time, terrorist attacks against innocent civilians are never justified and Hamas’ attack can in no way be condoned or allowed to stand unaddressed.

As peacebuilders and human rights activists, we recognize not only the horrific destruction and loss of life at the current moment, but also the potential for an ever widening cycle of war and grievance. Dehumanization on both sides will lead to escalation of violence, imperiling the citizens of Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank, and possibly radiating out to a wider regional conflict. We are already seeing the ripple effects throughout the world, with a rise in violent anti-semitism and anti-Islamic attacks. This must stop.

The U.S. government must apply public pressure on the Israeli government to stop collective punishment, end the violence against civilians, and continue to allow humanitarian relief. The U.S. government must also work with Arab and European states to pressure Hamas and its affiliated networks to release all remaining hostages in their custody.

Beyond a permanent ceasefire, the international community must use its power to shape conditions for lasting peace in the region. Recognizing that this conflict is deeply rooted in a history of oppression, fear, and distrust, Palestinian and Israeli allies must begin seeking a negotiated solution that will enable the citizens of Israel and Palestine to peacefully and safely coexist with full rights and dignity. These solutions are only possible if we listen to the voices of peacebuilders in the region who are actively working to end the decades-long conflict and build a sustainable peace.

At Humanity United, we remain steadfastly committed to supporting journalists and civil society leaders in their efforts to create a media environment and civic space that holds power to account in the region. We know that moments of intensive conflict can offer windows of opportunity for transformational change. In the spirit of shared humanity, we urge the U.S. government and international allies to push for a solution that offers peace and safety to all Palestinians and Israelis.

These solutions will be difficult, but not impossible. The moral responsibility falls on all of us – civilians and political leaders alike – to use our voices and influence to move toward lasting peace.