Solidarity Statement for Peace and Justice in Israel/Palestine
Thursday, November 16th, 2023
As faith leaders, elected officials, community leaders, educators, and individual residents of Washington state, we are heartbroken and horrified by the escalated violence and bloodshed in Israel/Palestine. As people of all faith backgrounds and conscience, we deeply value life, and are appalled by the significant loss of human life.
We condemn all targeting and killing of civilians, whether Israeli or Palestinian, of any or no faith background. Such indiscriminate violence harming innocent civilians is not only a violation of law, but also of basic morality and human decency. While this violence occurs in the context of daily injustices under a military occupation of Palestinians, we are outraged at the mass scale of kidnappings and killings of Israeli civilians including children, women and the elderly on October 7, 2023, as well as the mass killings, bombings and displacement of human beings away from their homes and communities as collective punishment of the 2.3 million people in Gaza (nearly half of which are children) since then. We must prevent more devastation.
Both the Talmud and the Quran recognize that killing one life is like killing all of humanity, and saving one life is like saving all of humanity (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5; Quran 5:32). Our hearts grieve for the loss of humanity right now, and we will strive – through the world’s brokenness – to find hope, and save all of humanity by saving even one life.
Accordingly, we reject the efforts to add further fuel to the fire of violence and vengeance through reactionary rhetoric or revenge-seeking actions. Our hearts recognize the tragedy, trauma and terror experienced by all peoples in and connected to the region. We are committed to “holding the whole” and feeling the pain of those who are currently suffering, oppressed, grieving, heartbroken, and/or terrified. In the face of deepening polarization, we choose the side of peace and justice. We recognize the horror experienced by all right now, and we uplift the humanity of all peoples in the region.
Further, we reject the efforts to conflate the actions of Hamas with the Palestinian people, just as we reject equating the actions of the Israeli military or government with the people living in Israel or Jews across the globe.
We call on the United States to use its influence and position to facilitate de-escalation in the region. We call for an immediate ceasefire; the safe return of the hostages captured by Hamas; the safe return of those displaced from their homes; a stop to the acts of war by the Israeli military that violate international law; the restoration of basic necessities like food, water, electricity, and medical services to the Gazan people; and the opening of humanitarian aid corridors. We ask all of our elected officials in Washington state and beyond to amplify these calls and to take action to achieve them.
In addition, we condemn antisemitism, islamophobia, xenophobia, and anti-Arab bigotry and violence that may result, as we have tragically seen with the brutal stabbing that killed 6-year-old Palestinian-American Wadea Al-Fayoume in Illinois. We call upon elected officials, corporate leaders, and school administrators in Washington state to be a voice for safety and calm, and to provide support to all those impacted during this devastating crisis, especially the children.
Together, we envision a world of peace and justice in Israel/Palestine, an area that is sacred to people of all three Abrahamic faith traditions. A world that embraces and delivers safety and security, freedom and liberation to everyone who inhabits the land, which necessarily requires an end to the decades-long military occupation. We look forward to the day when our beloved Israeli and Palestinian children alike will be able to celebrate life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness together.
In the powerful words of James Baldwin, ‘the children are always ours, every single one of them, all over the globe; and I am beginning to suspect that whoever is incapable of recognizing this may be incapable of morality”.
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