A month after the reprehensible Hamas attacks on Israel we, like so many others, are deeply disturbed by Israel’s relentless assault on the besieged Gaza strip.
We fail to find words to describe the acute and shared feeling of devastation amid the magnitude of the suffering and the indiscriminate violence the world is witnessing. The gross violation of international humanitarian law is incomprehensible. Moreover, the current failure to uphold the equal application of international law jeopardises our belief in justice systems and access-to-justice services for victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity around the world.
We call upon the international community and people in power
UN Secretary-General António Guterres stated that Gaza is ‘becoming a graveyard for children’. It is also in this light that we are profoundly troubled by the warnings of genocide which have been issued by scholars and international law practitioners as well as senior human rights officials. The UN should continue dialogue for an inclusive, political solution to the war, aiming for lasting peace.
The dismal trajectory of this violence is contrary to everything Cordaid stands for. We believe in an equitable world where everyone lives a life of dignity and in safety. Human rights are universal and non-negotiable, and we are all responsible for demanding the universal application of international humanitarian law. We stand by others in the international development, humanitarian assistance, and human rights sectors calling for an immediate end to the violence and for a sincere commitment from the international community to prioritise a sustainable solution which realises the inalienable rights of all.
We call upon our Dutch government
In the Netherlands, we have been outraged by the Dutch government’s unwillingness to heed the pleas of civil society and the Dutch public in calls for an immediate ceasefire to save Palestinian, Israeli, and Lebanese lives. For Cordaid it is incomprehensible that parallel to this political unwillingness, the Netherlands has proceeded with arms sales to Israel in the full knowledge that these weapons will be used to commit gross violations of international law, namely, the bombing of refugee camps, hospitals, UNWRA schools and places of worship. Our Dutch government should know better, live up to international laws and use their diplomatic contacts with Israel to contribute to turning the tide instead of enabling crimes.
We call upon the Israeli government and Hamas
The cycle of violence can only stop, and the safety of all people in the region can only be obtained, when the root cause of the violence is addressed: the illegal occupation and de facto apartheid regime. A two-state solution respecting the borders of pre-June 1967 should not be forgotten. Hostages should be set free, immediately. We also plea for all actors to listen to local women and peace organisations, such as Women Wage Peace and Mothers of the Sun, who have been committed to dialogue and cooperation for years. We can derive hope and inspiration from Palestinian and Israeli activists calling for peace, security, freedom, justice, and an end to the further militarisation of the conflict.
We call and act
We are doing what we can and are currently taking modest humanitarian action in Gaza via our partners (DanChurchAid and Caritas Jerusalem). This is crucial in helping the survivors of bombings and in mitigating the effects of Gaza’s looming public health catastrophe. We are also involved in advocacy work, including by being a signatory to the campaign #CeaseFireNow, which has been supported by hundreds of civil society organisations and many more citizens all over the world. The aim of this is to call for moral clarity from our elected officials and to urge the Dutch public to protect and champion our common humanity at a time when polarisation can be stoked for sinister gain. Meanwhile, we must not lose ourselves, but stay connected, genuinely invested in the wellbeing of each other, whatever our backgrounds. Humanity cannot do without it.
As a member of the international networks CIDSE and the ACT Alliance EU, Cordaid endorses their joint statement and calls for an immediate ceasefire, to allow local and global humanitarian actors to provide urgent water, food, medicine and shelter.
Cordaid remains steadfast in our commitment to human dignity, justice and compassion for all.