Joint Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire petition

Someone just sent me this Israeli ceasefire petition. Note that they’re only looking for petition signatures from Israelis and Palestinians, but they’d still like to see it publicized widely.

Dear All

Yesterday at the meeting of the Israeli Gaza Coalition it was decided to adopt and promote the initiative for a joint Israeli-Palestinian call for a ceasefire and for an end to the siege on Gaza, with the following text in Hebrew, Arabic and English. The events of the last 24 hours make this initiative most urgent, Dr. Eyad Saraj called me from bombed Gaza and asked to accelerate the collection of signatures so that we could go public with this initiative already at the beginning of next week, with as many signatures as will be collected until then. Following is also the first list of Palestinian signatories, and an intensive effort is being made to collect more in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

For our part, here in Israel, please do the following:

Sign the petition personally at

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/ceasefirenow

Pass it on as soon as possible to widest circulation you can achieve, with a request your correspondents to also sign it.

Everybody who has contact with VIP’s – i.e., anybody known in politics, academy, art and literature or any other field – please make a personal contact and try to get his or her signature. The same if you know a person who lives in Sderot or any other place within range of the Qassams and who might agree to sign.

It is important to note that this petition is for Israelis and Palestinians, members of the two societies locked in destructive warfare. People who are neither Israelis nor Palestinians should NOT sigh this petition, but are most welcome to express support and make its text known to media, decision makers and the general public in their own countries.

Text of the petition in English:

Ceasefire Now

The escalation in and around the Gaza Strip is causing terrible suffering to people – to men, women, elderly and children, Palestinian as well as Israeli civilians.

The military offensive conducted by the Israeli armed forces has so far caused hundreds of Palestinian casualties; many of them were unarmed civilians. The siege and economic blockade have reduced most of the Gaza Strip’s population to abject poverty, devastated its economy, and caused the death of critically ill patients, denied access to vital treatment. The Palestinian attacks on Sderot have severely traumatized its population, far beyond the physical casualties caused among them.

This is not a conflict between two equal forces. The most powerful army in the Middle East, backed by the world’s single remaining
super-power, is daily using tanks, fighter planes, helicopters and gunships against the lightly-armed militias and overcrowded population of a small area whose people have lived under occupation and in poverty long before the present siege.

Yet the individuals caught in the fighting are all suffering – on both sides of the fighting, among both peoples. The pain of living in daily fear, of being wounded and mutilated for life, of grieving for the loss of loved ones, is the same pain – whether one’s country be oppressed or oppressor, occupied or occupier, rich or poor, powerful or powerless.

The attacks on both sides of the border feed on each other and intensify each other. Palestinians in Gaza, rightly feeling
themselves still living under occupation despite the Israeli ‘disengagement’, seek to resist occupation, but when some use launching of rockets against civilians, they manage only to provide an additional justification for tightening the siege on Gaza and the escalation of Israeli violence.

The cycle of violence and bloodshed goes on and on, and the threat of an overall invasion and re-conquest of the Gaza Strip is openly and repeatedly made by the Israeli military and political leaders – with the cost estimated at hundreds or thousands of casualties.

We, the undersigned – Israelis and Palestinians – do not accept this grim reality as inevitable. There is a clear and obvious alternative to bloody escalation and strangulating siege, an alternative providing hope: an end to the siege of Gaza, and a ceasefire and cessation of all hostilities.

The siege of Gaza and the collective punishment of its population are totally unacceptable. It is a medieval form of war which is in utter contradiction to the present norms of human rights and international law – which Israel, as an occupying power, is bound to respect. There should be an immediate end to the siege, unconnected with any other issue, and the Gaza Strip must have free access to the outside world, for the free passage of persons and goods.

It has already been clearly seen that the suffering inflicted on Palestinian civilians in Gaza did not and cannot solve the problem of
Sderot. The only solution is a complete and mutual ceasefire, an end to all armed attacks by the Israeli occupation on Palestinians, including all shootings by infantry, tanks, artillery, aircraft and gunboats, and all targeted killings, armed incursions and arrests across the border, and an end to launching of rockets by Palestinians on Israelis. In addition, this should involve a reopening of the prisoners issue, starting with negotiations on the exchange of Israeli soldier Gilead Shalit with Palestinian prisoners.

We regard such a ceasefire as an entirely realistic, achievable and desirable act, which would save lives, alleviate misery and create better conditions for any attempt to achieve peace between the two peoples – while understanding that no long-lasting solution is possible while the Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem continue to live under occupation.

=======================================================
First list of Palestinian signatories

Dr. Eyad Sarraj, President, Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, Gaza
Mr. Khaled Abdelshafi, Economist, Gaza
Mr. Abdelkarim Ashour, PARC, Gaza
Mr. Omar Sha’ban, Economist, Palthink, Gaza
Dr. Ahmad Abu Tawaheena, GCMHP, Gaza
Mr. Talak Okal, Political Analyst, Gaza
Mr. Ma’moun Abu Shahla, Vice-President, Bank of Palestine, Gaza
Mr. Sami Abdelshafi, Consultant, Gaza
Dr. Ryad Za’noun, Former Health Minister, Gaza
Mr. Constantine Dabbagh, Secretary General of Near East Council of
Churches, Gaza
Dr. Fawwaz Abu Sitta, Lecturer, Gaza
Mr. Mostafa Mas’oud, Businessmen Association, Gaza
Ms. Rania Kharma, Gaza
Dr. Ali abu Zuhri, President of Al Aqsa University, Gaza
Mr. Ibrahim Khashan, Gaza
Mr. Nader Shurafa, Ramatan, Gaza
Dr. Kamalein Sha’ath, President of Islamic University, Gaza
Mr. Hashem Shawwa, President, Bank of Palestine, Gaza
Ms. Hanan Taha, Paltrade, Gaza
Dr. Yehya Sarraj, Islamic University
Ms. Nebras Bseiso, Gaza
Mr. Hani Masri, Bada’el Association, Ramallah
Ms. Laila Atshan, Sociologist, Ramallah
Mr. Haseeb Nashashibi, Ramallah
Mr. Mamdouh Aker, the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizen’s
Rights, Ramallah
Mr. Jumana Odeh, Pediatrician, Ramallah

— L.L. Wynn

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