Press Release: Rosh H’Shanah Statement

October 3, 2005

European Jews for a Just Peace

Jewish New Year 5766

It is both tragic and shameful that, on the Eve of Rosh H’Shanah, the Jewish New Year, the beginning of the High Holidays, the period of remembrance, spiritual self-examination, and repentance by Jewish people everywhere, destruction and new acts of terror were brought to the Gaza Strip by the Israeli Army.

We remember that it was on the Eve of the High Holidays 2001 when Ariel Sharon caused increased humiliation, oppression, and death for the occupied Palestinian people. This memory has not paled, indeed it has been intensified by the continual, new crimes carried out by the Sharon Government.

The European Jews for a Just Peace wish to express their unreserved condemnation of the inexcusable military air attacks on the Gaza Strip, including innumerable sound attacks by F-16 fighter jets.

These unbearable sound explosions have terrifying effects, including physical consequences, hearing problems, colics, trauma, etc., on the entire population of the Gaza Strip, a population of approximately 1.300,000 Palestinians. They are of particular harm to babies, children, and pregnant women. Many of these air attacks have been carried out at night.

The Israeli Army is thus terrorising a largely unarmed population with its military war machine. Many question the recent withdrawal of settlers from the Gaza Strip, asking whether this was done to give the Israeli Army a free hand in Gaza. Judging by the reprehensible acts of the last days, this seems to be the case.

The European Jews for a Just Peace urgently call on the Government of Israel to cease its targeted, extrajudicial killings, of which at least 11 have occurred in the last 10 days. There can be no justification for the illegitimacy of these murders. Moreover, other than the illegality of such criminal actions it should be obvious to the Government of Israel, which claims to act in the interests of its people, and, indeed, to any objective observer, that this will only result in an escalation of violence, retaliation and pain for the civilian Israeli population.

The European Jews for a Just Peace also condemn the arrests of hundreds of Palestinians on mere suspicion, which is in contravention of international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention. The legitimation of such arrests would mean that any Palestinian can be taken prisoner by the Israeli Army on the grounds that he is a terrorist, without giving any proof whatsoever of his guilt.

The European Jews for a Just Peace call on the international community, the United Nations and the European Union, to finally accept their responsibility and to put an end to the bloodshed in Palestine. We call on all peace loving forces to act in every way possible against the collective punishment meted out against the entire Palestinian population of almost 4,000,000 people.

The injustice of the 38-year military occupation by Israel over East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, which is now largely being annexed to Israel by its so-called “separation barrier”, must end. It is totally unacceptable that the United Nations Charter, international law and innumerable United Nations resolutions and agreements have been treated with disrespect and are being ignored by the Israeli Government. Consequently, the international community, the United Nations and the European Union are urgently requested, in defence of international law, to take concrete action against the aggressive policies of the Government of Israel.

On the Eve of Rosh H’Shanah, the Jewish New Year, The European Jews for a Just Peace declare that the many dead and wounded victims, destruction, hate and immeasurable pain of the last decades confirm that peace can never be based on military power and occupation.

We hope that the New Year will give the international community and above all, the people and Government of Israel the strength and wisdom to take honest and confidence-building measures to achieve a just and lasting peace for both peoples.

EJJP, 3 October 2005