Friday, July 09, 2010

Veterans For Peace San Diego Chapter Statement Regarding Israel and Palestine/Gaza

by Jon Monday & Barry Ladendorf
In the past few weeks the world's attention has been drawn, yet again, to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict by reason of the violence from the Israeli Defense Force boarding the Mavi Marmara and the five other ships intending to run Israel's blockade of Gaza. The purpose of the humanitarian flotilla was two fold: focus the world's attention on the blockade, which it did, and bring much needed supplies to the people of Gaza.

Reasonable voices on all sides of the conflict have expressed bitter disappointment with the seemingly unending cycle of violence which time and again escalates into unreasonable force and indiscriminate threats and violence against innocent civilians.

As Veterans For Peace, we are mindful of our greater responsibility to serve the cause of world peace and to increase public awareness of the costs of war and to seek justice for victims of war. We will continue our pledge to use non-violent means to accomplish our goals. As veterans, we understand that to return violence with more violence never gives birth to either justice or peace. Violence can never be the answer. Therefore, we pledge to use our best efforts to support and work with groups inside Israel and Palestine or elsewhere who are working for peace by using non-violent means.

As Veterans For Peace we believe we have a duty to renounce evil and violence that has caused so much of the injustice in the world. The violence and depravation that has been visited on the 1.5 million people of Gaza cannot be justified and we condemn it. We also denounce the blockade and call for an international peace group to manage relief efforts into the area to restore peace and decent living conditions.

To ease tensions and begin a non-violent resolution of Israeli/Palestinian conflict we support and recommend the following steps be taken:

1. An immediate end to the blockade of Gaza by Israel and Egypt and under the watch of an international peace group allowing the free transport of all goods and materials to the people of Gaza, including food, medical supplies and building materials necessary for a decent living and the rebuilding of schools, homes, factories, hospitals and government buildings.

2. Provide the people of Gaza means to travel throughout Palestine and the Occupied Territories.

3. That Israel pledge to immediately suspend the building of settlements in the West Bank and the Occupied Territories.

4. That the Israeli government, the Palestinian government, and Hamas pledge to reject the use of violence and immediately agree to open peace talks to resolve the issues in Gaza and to move toward a peaceful resolution that will lead to a free and independent state of Palestine and secure state of Israel.

5. We call upon the people of Israel and Palestine and the Occupied Territories to use non-violent means to pressure their governments to reject violence and work for a permanent and lasting peace between Israeli and the Palestinian peoples.

6. We call upon our own government to continue to strive for peace in the Middle East and incessantly work with Israel and the Palestinian authorities to finally bring about a two state resolution that will end the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

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