As the situation in Israel and Palestine has escalated, WCIA affirm the calls of International NGOs and the global humanitarian community in calling for an urgent ceasefire in Gaza. We urge people in Wales to support petitions such as Oxfam’s ‘Call for a Ceasefire Now’, and to raise your voice with Members of Parliament and Senedd to press the UK government to show humanitarian leadership.
“It’s time to speak out and say that every life — Palestinian and Israeli — should be valued and treated with humanity. And that we refuse to be divided in our call for lasting peace and justice. We are calling on our government to hear us and act.
Oxfam International ‘Call for a Ceasefire‘
- We will not be bystanders. Immediate ceasefire now.
- Nothing can justify violence towards any civilians. Anyone held captive must be released.
- End the blockade that is preventing civilians in Gaza from accessing food, fuel and water.
- Call for a path to real and lasting peace for Palestinian and Israeli people.”
Feature initially published 12 Oct 2023:
Wales and the world watch on with horror at the unfolding humanitarian situation and escalating conflict in Israel and Palestine in October 2023, following the unprecedented attacks on Israeli communities in the early morning of 7 October by Hamas terrorists.
As the Israeli government’s military response escalates, many millions are now caught up in one of the gravest humanitarian crises in a long history of Middle East conflict.
Thousands of Israeli civilians have been killed and murdered, and many hundreds more taken hostage in the worst (and unexpected) attacks seen on Israel since the 1967 Yom Kippur War.
The Israeli Government and military have responded with a campaign of bombing buildings and infrastructure in Gaza City, and cutting of life critical supplies such as water, electricity, fuel and food to the whole Gaza Strip, an isolated belt of coastline 25 by 5 miles that is home to over 2 million people, one of the most densely populated on earth. On 13 October, Israel issued an instruction for over 1 million residents to evacuate and ‘move south’ within 24 hours ahead of an expected ground invasion.
On 25 October, the Welsh Senedd tabled a motion calling for a ceasefire.
A number of humanitarian appeals have been launched to support many millions of innocent civilians caught in the crossfire – including Save the Children Fund (SCF), the International Red Cross, and Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) – and Welsh Parliamentary leaders have called for Peace in the face of the escalating situation.
Humanitarian Response to De-escalating Conflict
WCIA join civil society worldwide in unequivocally condemning the actions of Hamas militant extremists in attacking, kidnapping and murdering men, women and children in Israel.
We stand in solidarity with ordinary Israelis, Palestinians and people of all nationalities who are impacted in the conflict.
WCIA join the international community in calls for Hamas to release hostages and to cease all violence. We also join calls for Israeli Government to defend its borders and security in accordance with international humanitarian law and rules of war, and to safeguard corridors for humanitarian aid to civilians caught in the crossfire, as articulated by UN Secretary General António Guterres addressing the press on 9 October 2023:
“I recognize the legitimate grievances of the Palestinian people. But nothing can justify acts of terror & the killing, maiming & abduction of civilians. I reiterate my call to immediately cease these attacks & release all hostages.
I recognize Israel’s legitimate security concerns, I also remind Israel that military operations must be conducted in strict accordance with int’l humanitarian law. Civilians must be respected & protected at all times. Civilian infrastructure must never be a target.”Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General
Being Human Kind: Supporting Voices for Peace in the Crossfire
We call on commentators on all sides, particularly among press & media and political actors, to make clear distinctions between the actions of Hamas extremists, the Palestinian population and wider Arab community; and likewise, the actions of the Israeli Government, the wider Israeli people and international Jewish community.
In a social media and news environment that fuels polarisation, WCIA urge commentators and individuals to hear the voices of those calling for peace and for peaceful solutions, such as:
- Parents Circle – joint Israeli / Palestinian organisation of 600 families who have lost loved ones to the conflict.
- B’tselem Israel Human Rights Centre statement
- Na’amod – movement of Jews in the UK
- FOR Fellowship of Reconciliation
- International groups such as Jews for Justice for Palestinians
“Whether this current war results in another status quo in Gaza, as past wars have, or a reoccupation of Gaza by Israel, this violence will not aid the aims of safety, equality, freedom, and peace for all people between the river and the sea. In the words of renowned theologian, political analyst, and former FOR executive director, A.J. Muste, ‘There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.””Ariel Gold, International Fellowship of Reconciliation
Resources and Perspectives on the Israel-Palestine Conflict
WCIA have curated a range of links and resources to support people Wales-wide to explore and better understand the current conflict and long history behind it. These resources are deliberately selected to present a wide range of views and perspectives, and do not represent the official view of WCIA; we seek to share ways in which people in Wales can learn more about global issues, take action and show solidarity.
Humanitarian Organisations ‘on the ground’ in Gaza
- DEC Disasters Emergency Committee (currently monitoring crisis)
- Save the Children Fund] (SCF)
- Red Cross
- MSF Medicins sans Frontieres
- UN Crisis Relief
- World Jewish Relief Partners
- Palestine Children’s Relief Fund
Civil Society Perspectives
- Churches Together in Britain & Ireland
- Jewish Leadership Council UK
- Muslim Council for Wales: Guidance for Parents and Schools (2021)
- Welsh Jewish Heritage Centre
- Jewish Communities and Congregations in Wales
- Palestine Solidarity Campaign
- Parents Circle Families Forum – joint Israeli / Palestinian organisation
- Jews for Justice for Palestinians
- Btselem – Israeli Information centre for Human Rights
- Na’amod – movement of Jews in the UK seeking to end our community’s support for occupation, for dignity, freedom and democracy for all Palestinians and Israelis.
- Union of Jewish Students (UJS) UK
- Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) International statement
News Sources and Perspectives
- BBC Coverage curation on Gaza War, Israel, Middle East
- Guardian Israel Hamas War coverage
- Independent Israel Palestine Conflict coverage and Latest News
- Economist News + feature “Will Israel’s Agony end in Chaos or Stability?”
- Times of Israel, Jerusalem Post and Haaretz (paywall)
- UN News Israel news, Palestine news, Peace & Security coverage
- Brookings Oct 2022 Podcasts / Commentary ‘War in Israel and Gaza‘, and 2011 feature ‘Why Palestinian Statehood is a Question for the UN‘
Country Profiles and Humanitarian Information
- Amnesty International – Human Rights in Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories
- UN OHCHR UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
- Freedom House – Gaza Strip , West Bank and Israel profiles + Statement on Israel Attacks
- New Internationalist – Country Profile
- Economist – Palestine Country Profile and Israel Country Profile
- Human Rights Watch
- UK Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office FCDO Programme, Occupied Palestinan Territories
- UNCTAD: The Question of Palestine (UN Trade & Development)
- Global Conflict Tracker – Israeli Palestinian Conflict (US Council on Foreign Relations CFR)
Historic Backdrop to Conflict
The Israel – Palestine conflict has roots going back a full century, to the 1917 Balfour Declaration when Palestine was a British Mandate. The State of Israel was founded in 1948, after the horrors of the WW2 Holocaust fuelled calls for a safe Jewish homeland. However, failure of both processes to involve the existing Palestinian population created an Occupation and perpetual conflict over land, resources, religion and political control. Successive outbreaks of conflict ever since have shifted borders of Israel and Occupied Palestine’s recognised territories, widely disputed by both sides.
Peace building efforts towards a ‘Two State Solution’ have progressed tantalisingly close at points in history, particularly the 2000 Camp David Summit; but peace efforts have often been derailed by terrorist atrocities – as has happened again in 2023 (as the Abraham Accords and US / Israel / Saudi Peace Deal had been progressing.
- BBC – Israel Gaza War: Historic Backdrop to the Conflict
- United Nations: The Question of Palestine
- Al Jazeera Country Profile: Palestine
- Understanding the Balfour Declaration: What if Wales had been offered as a homeland? (blog)
- What are the Borders of Israel? (blog)
- History behind the 2 State Solution – Britannica
- Wikipedia – 2023 Israel Hamas War
- Wikipedia – Israeli Palestinian Peace Process ; History of State of Palestine; History of Israel (1948-present)
What Can I Do?
- Donate towards humanitarian appeals supporting victims of the attacks, and of the escalating conflict (links above)
- Support civil society organisations and charities who are advocating for peaceful ways forward towards co-dependence of Israeli and Palestinian people
- Educate – learn about the long history of the Israel / Palestine conflict, and efforts towards Peace through a Two State Solution.