Opinion: The only path to peace


Published: 10-16-2023 5:00 PM

Daisy Goodman lives in Lyme. Sharon Racusin lives in Hanover.

We are writing as Jews and residents of the Upper Valley of New Hampshire who are deeply saddened by the suffering and death of this past week in Israel/Palestine, and all that has occurred since the creation of the state of Israel. While we grieve over these tragic events and the loss of so many lives, it is essential to correct the widespread misinformation in U.S. media and public statements about the horrific events that are unfolding.

Mainstream media sources and politicians have shockingly described the attack by Hamas as “unprovoked,” using this to justify U.S. support for Israeli military action against Gaza. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Since the inception of the state of Israel on Palestinian land in 1948, successive Israeli governments have established an apartheid system where Palestinians in Gaza are denied basic human rights including access to food, water, electricity and medical care in what amounts to an open-air prison. Jews would understand the place as a ghetto. In the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Israeli state-sanctioned violence evicts people from their land daily. This is the terrible context in which the attack by Hamas occurred, a gruesome but predictable outcome of years of abuse inflicted on Palestinians, a reality we must face if there is ever to be an end to this cycle.

The current Netanyahu government has launched a campaign of destruction against Gaza and its residents, whom Israeli officials have described as “human animals.” As Jews, we know all too well how dangerous dehumanizing, racist rhetoric is. Yet the United States continues to fund this regime with billions of our tax dollars each year and has promised to increase military funding and material support at a time when Netanyahu is enacting policies and carrying out military operations that are destroying Gaza and its people.

Gaza City is one of the most densely populated places on earth, a city of 2 million people, 50% of whom are children. As we write this, aerial strikes have killed thousands of civilians and destroyed their homes, mosques, hospitals, and schools, and rescue crews attempting to save people from the rubble have no fuel or equipment. These are heinous war crimes against innocent people which can in no way be justified as “retaliation” for atrocities enacted by Hamas.

In addition to unrelenting bombing, the Israeli military has carried out what it describes as a “full siege” of Gaza, including a ban on incoming food, water and fuel, despite denunciation by the United Nations’ human rights chief, Volker Turk as actions prohibited under international law. Netanyahu’s grim promise is already coming true. Over a million residents of Gaza have been forced to evacuate, thousands killed, and tens of thousands wounded, 60% of whom are women and children.

It is time to move in a completely different direction or death and destruction will continue until nothing is left but rubble and war spreads across the region. Enough is enough! The current siege of Gaza is being funded by our taxpayer dollars and the Biden Administration has the ability to stop it by withdrawing that support. We urge readers to contact the White House and Congress, to demand an end to military funding to Israel and work to de-escalate the violence immediately. The American Friends Service Committee provides an easy way to reach our representatives.

Murdering civilians and destroying cities are not the way to end violence. The United States is giving unconditional military support to an undemocratic government carrying out a campaign of genocide against the people of Gaza. These are not our Jewish values, and they should not be American values. The only path to peace, safety and security for all the people of Israel/Palestine is through justice for the Palestinian people.