West Surrey PSC is appalled and horrified at the severe escalation of violence in Israel and Palestine since October 7th.
International law makes it clear that the deliberate killing of civilians, hostage-taking and collective punishment are war crimes. It also enshrines the right of a people to resist oppression and military occupation.
Any claims of respect for international law and human rights only carry weight if they are applied without discrimination, and it is from this perspective that West Surrey PSC pledges solidarity with the people of Palestine.
The current war can only be understood in the context of Israel’s decades-long occupation, colonisation and oppression of Palestine, a system that meets the legal definition of apartheid, a crime against humanity.
Gaza, with a population of over 2 million, of whom 50% are children and 80% refugees, has been subjected to an Israeli-imposed blockade for the last 16 years, a collective punishment in absolute defiance of international law.
The Great March of Return, 20 months of peaceful demonstrations in 2018-19, was met with Israeli gunfire, killing 223 and badly injuring over 9,000 of whom more than half are expected to never walk, or walk normally, again. In 2023 alone, up to the start of this war, 240 Palestinians were killed in Gaza by Israeli forces, including 45 children.
These crimes are all aspects of a system of rule established over Palestinians since the foundation of the Israeli state via a process of ethnic cleansing that saw over 750,000 forced from their homes, without the right to return. Since that Nakba of 1948, Israel has enacted a system of violent, oppressive rule, designed to deny the rights of Palestinians.
We wish to see an end to all violence, especially violence against civilians of both sides, but recognise that this requires the root causes to be addressed. We support the right of the Palestinian people to freedom, self-determination and return to their homeland.
1) an immediate ceasefire;
2) humanitarian aid to be allowed into Gaza immediately;
3) UN protection for Palestinians in Gaza.