Movement of Democratic Women in Israel condemns war, says ‘political solution’ needed
Palestinians evacuate wounded from a building destroyed in Israeli bombardment in Rafah refugee camp in Gaza Strip on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023. | Fatima Shbair / AP

JERUSALEM—The Movement of Democratic Women in Israel has issued a statement condemning Israel’s war against Gaza and “the tragic loss of innocent lives—both Palestinians and Israelis.” The movement strongly criticized U.S. President Joe Biden’s allocation of substantial funds for weaponry to Israel and the deployment of naval vessels in the Mediterranean region.

It stated that “a political solution is the only route out of the bloodshed.” The Movement of Democratic Women in Israel is a Jewish-Arab women’s organization that was established in 1948.

The current round of bloodshed began on Oct. 7 when Hamas, the group that governs Gaza, launched an attack against Israel. The women’s coalition said the attack came as “a reaction to the Israeli government’s persistent blockade of the Gaza Strip and the illegal occupation of the Palestinian Territories.”

In a coordinated attack, Hamas launched a substantial offensive, firing thousands of rockets into Israel, while their militants infiltrated Israeli towns and rural villages. During the assault and in its aftermath, 1,400 Israelis lost their lives. Meanwhile, in Gaza, at least 3,000 Palestinians have been killed already, with thousands more wounded.

“The horrific aggression towards Israeli civilians, including women, children, and elderly, of which we saw footage on different media platforms, is deeply distressing,” the organization said in its statement. “Entire families were killed in their homes or taken into captivity. The movement is especially concerned for the state of women and children who are being held captive as we speak.”

A Hamas spokesperson says the group is currently holding around 200 hostages, while other groups have approximately 50 Israelis.

The Movement of Democratic Women in Israel urged the international community to pressure all relevant agents to “release immediately all the civilians, Israeli and Palestinian, and especially children and women, who are held in unlawful captivity.”

The organization strongly condemned any aggression towards innocent civilians. “However, we make it clear,” the statement declared, “that this condemnation extends to Palestinian civilians as well, a stance not shared by the Israeli government.”

It emphasized the necessity of analyzing current tragic incidents within the proper context: the ongoing occupation, blockade on Gaza, and the daily transgressions of Israeli settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

“The Israeli government, which we characterize as a pro-fascist regime, not only endorses but leads violent attacks on Palestinians,” it said, “amounting to ethnic cleansing.” The group said the Hamas attack did not materialize out of thin air: “The signs were evident, etched in the bloodshed of Palestinians, and now tragically, also of Israelis.”

The Movement warned that Israel’s war against the Palestinians poses a significant risk of sparking a wider conflict in the Middle East region with potentially devastating consequences.

“We are convinced that the solution of Two States, which includes the establishment of an independent Palestinian state within pre-1967 ceasefire lines in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, is the just and lasting solution for the continuous bloodshed.”

This article features reporting from Zo Haderekh, the newspaper of the Communist Party of Israel, and other sources.

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