A Call to Stop Indiscriminate Attacks on Palestinian Civilians by the Israeli Military Forces

Today, the citizeens of Hiroshima published this call:

 A Call to Stop Indiscriminate Attacks on Palestinian Civilians by the Israeli Military Forces

We the citizens of Hiroshima, the city that was completely destroyed by indiscriminate atomic bombing 69 years ago, demand that the Israeli Government immediately stops indiscriminately killing and injuring Palestinian civilians. So far more than 500 people have been killed and about 3,600 injured as a result of continuous aerial bombing and bombardment on the ground, which started on July 8 and July 18 respectively. More than 80 percent of these casualties are ordinary civilians, in particular, women and children, not members of Hamas that Israel calls terrorist Islamic fundamentalists. Clearly such indiscriminate killing and injuring of Palestinian civilians by the Israeli military forces are crimes against humanity and war crimes. More than 60,000 people are now displaced within the Gaza Strip and struggle to survive under intense fear for their lives. Yet, the Israeli government is planning to further escalate indiscriminate attacks on the Palestinians. We strongly condemn such actions, which cannot be rationalized in any way.

The reason for the present mass killing is said to have been the discovery of the dead bodies of three missing Israeli boys near Hebron in Palestinian territory on June 30. Hamas denies responsibility, but Israel’s Prime Minister, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, claims they were murdered by Hamas, hence the retaliation. On July 7, a 16-year-old Palestinian boy was abducted and killed after his body had been doused in kerosene and set alight. Yet, it should be remembered that one month before the murder of the three Israeli boys, two Palestinian boys were cold-bloodedly killed by Israeli soldiers. This incident is also related to the vicious cycle of escalating violence.

According to one source, during the search for the above-mentioned three Israeli boys, Israeli occupation soldiers murdered 7 Palestinians (including a 13 year old child), injured dozens, kidnapped nearly 400 people, demolished many houses, destroyed the contents of hundreds of homes that they invaded in the middle of the night and blocked travel attempts by hundreds of thousands of people. They continue to imprison thousands of others, many of whom are on hunger strikes for being held without charge for months.

In retaliation for such actions by Israeli soldiers, Hamas began launching rocket bombs at Israel, thereby intensifying the reciprocal military violence. The recent attempted rocket attack on the Dimona Nuclear Power Plant in southern Israel by Hamas is of particular concern. It is extremely lucky that this attempt failed. As Japanese citizens, we are well aware of the devastating consequences of the use of nuclear weapons and nuclear power accidents, due to our personal experience of such disasters on our home soil. It is this knowledge that causes us to strongly condemn both the possession of nuclear weapons by Israel and the rocket attack on the Israeli nuclear power plant by Hamas.

To date, Israel has repeatedly violated international law by indiscriminately attacking Palestinian civilians and their domains. From the year 2000 until immediately before the recent onset of aerial bombing, 1,407 Palestinian children were the victims of indiscriminate attacks by Israeli forces. In other words, over the past 14 years on average two children were killed every week. In May this year alone, 214 minors were arrested, detained and tortured without charge or trial. For years many children in the Gaza Strip have suffered malnutrition, resulting in anemia, due to the shortage of food and medicine as a result of the blockade by the Israeli government. In addition, many children suffer serious psychological problems caused by intense and long-lasting fear, due to repeated aerial bombing and bombardment.

We urge Israeli politicians, military officers and soldiers, as well as civilians to imagine the pain and sorrow of Palestinian children and parents, in particular those of parents who have lost their children because of your indiscriminate and inhumane attacks. Such horrific acts upon Palestinians will only cause them to hate Israel more, and thus produce no solution at all. This logic is self evident from your past actions repeated over many years.

It is crystal clear that the real cause of the present tragedy is not the recent reciprocal killing of boys, but the illegal occupation and colonization of the Gaza Strip and the grave violation of Palestinian human rights by Israel over the last half-century. A situation where 1.8 million people are confined to an area of 360 km square, suffering from acute poverty and intense violence, cannot be called an “autonomous region.” It could more appropriately be called a “detention camp.” It is indeed tragic to see a nation, which suffered so badly as a result of the horrendous holocaust by the Nazis during World War II and which lost so manly lives as a consequence, committing “crimes against humanity” against a neighboring nation over the past 50 years or so. As citizens of the city, which became the victim of a nuclear holocaust, we urge you to take the following actions. These are based on our commitment to non-military violence or any other form of violence, in particular the killing or injuring of others. We beg you to

1) Immediately stop the indiscriminate aerial bombing of Palestinian civilians
2) Immediately stop the ground targeted bombardment of Palestinian civilians
3) Immediately stop killing Palestinian civilians, in particular children
4) Stop violating the human rights of Palestinian civilians
5) Stop the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories

We strongly urge you to cease your on-going illegal actions, to respect basic human rights of all people including Palestinians, and to establish and implement new policies based on peace and justice as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely
July 21, 2014

Yuki Tanaka (Ph.D),
Research Professor, Hiroshima Peace Institute,
on behalf of the following 14 organizations in Hiroshima

* The August 6 Peace Assembly in Hiroshima (Representative: Dr. Yuki Tanaka)
Tenma-Cho 13-1-810, Naka-Ku, Hiroshima City, 733-0022, Japan

* Kure YWCA (Representative: Ms. Hiroko Kimura)
Saiwai-cho, Kure City, Hiroshima Prefecture 737-0028, Japan

* The Northeast Asian Information Center (Representative: Mr. Yukio Yokohara)
Itsukaichi Chuo 4-14-1-205, Hiroshima City, 731-5128, Japan

* The Peace Link Hiroshima, Kure and Iwakuni (Co-Representatives: Mr. Hideki Nitta, Mr. Yukio Nishioka, Mr. Jungen Tamura)
c/o Kure YWCA, Saiwai-cho, Kure City, Hiroshima Prefecture 737-0028, Japan

* The Hiroshima Association of Article 9 of Japan’s Constitution (Representative: Ms. Sumiko Fujii)
Ujina Miyuki 1-9-26-413, Minami-Ku, Hiroshima City, 734-0015, Japan

* The Hiroshima Civil Association for No Nuclear Power (Representative: Mr. Shoji Kihara)
Ebizono 2-17-9, Saeki-Ku, Hiroshima City, 731-5135, Japan

* The Hiroshima Association for the Establishment of the Future with Friendly Environment
(Co-Representatives: Ms. Maki Tokioka, Ms. Noriko Yumiba, Ms. Ayako Nagahashi) Phone: +81-80-1934-0866

* The Hiroshima Cooperative Center for Japan’s Constitution and Peace (Representative: Mr. Kazuyuki Senko)
Ote-Machi 4-2-27, Naka-Ku, Hiroshima City, 737-0051, Japan

* The Hiroshima Association for the Establishment of Peaceful, Democratic and Reformed Japan (Representative: Mr. Katsumi Toshimoto)
Ote-Machi 4-2-27, Naka-Ku, Hiroshima City, 737-0051, Japan

* The Hiroshima Committee of AALA Solidarity (Representative: Ms. Noriko Hayashi)
Ote-Machi 4-2-27, Naka-Ku, Hiroshima City, 737-0051, Japan

* The Committee of Social Concerns, West Chugoku Area, the United Church of Christ in Japan (Representative: Yoshihiro Jinbo)
Minami Sakae 3-1-29, Otake City, Hiroshima Prefecture 739-0602, Japan

Hiroshima YWCA (Representative: Ms. Yasue Nakarai)
c/o Hiroshima Shujo Church, Wakakusa Cho 6-7, Higashi-Ku, Hiroshima City 732-0053, Japan

The Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition (Co-Representatives: Dr. Katsuaki Aoki, Dr. Yuki Tanaka, Ms. Haruko Moritaki)
c/o Adachi Shuichi Law Firm, Jyohoku Building 2F, Hakushima 18-4, Naka-Ku, Hiroshima City, 730-0005, Japan

The Religious Association of Article 9 of Japan’s Constitution (Representative: Mr. Shozo Muneto)
c/o Nobori Machi Catholic Church, Hiroshima City, 730-0016, Japan