MADRE condemns the growing violence that has killed at least 18 people in the past days: 15 in Gaza and three in Israel. We assert that all attacks against civilians must end immediately.
Yesterday, Israel carried out a targeted killing of Hamas leader Ahmed Al-Jaabari, in violation of international legal prohibitions on extrajudicial assassinations. Subsequent attacks brought the death toll in Gaza to 15. Reports from Gaza indicate that at least 130 people are wounded. Three Israelis have been killed in a rocket attack that collapsed part of a building.
These latest assaults come after a period of escalating attacks and tension. In the week leading up to the assassination of Jaabari, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights documented the deaths of six civilians in Gaza due to Israel’s military activity. That same week saw repeated rockets attacks from Gaza into Israel, also in violation of international law.
In January, Israel will be holding elections, and some have suggested that the assassination and airstrikes are a bid by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to galvanize his far right base. Now that a ground offensive may be imminent, many more lives are at risk.
The people of Gaza already live under a US-supported Israeli military siege that denies them basic rights, like access to clean water and medical care. The current airstrikes not only risk civilian lives, they destroy essential infrastructure in Gaza still not rebuilt from the last Israeli offensive four years ago.
Today, MADRE Executive Director Yifat Susskind said, “By assassinating a man who has played a central role in past ceasefire negotiations, Israel’s leaders are further foreclosing the possibility of peace. That, in fact, is the essence of Netanyahu’s election strategy. And families in Gaza are paying with their lives for his political manipulations. The Palestinian and Israeli women we work with are committed to breaking the cycle of violence and ending Israel’s occupation and siege of Gaza.”