Not all Palestinians are Hamas, not all Israelis are Netanyahu
18. 10. 2023 | Politics
We were deeply shocked by the massacre carried out by Hamas on civilians in Israel on October 7, 2023. The pain will undoubtedly accompany the families of the victims and the entire Israeli society for a long time. Although radical Palestinian groups such as Hamas arose under the circumstances of long-term Israeli occupation, there is no excuse for such crimes, and we at the Peace Institute condemn them in the strongest possible terms. Perpetrators should be prosecuted.
We have also been deeply shocked by the response of the Israeli government: first its overt racism and then its vindictive war. Contrary to its’ words, the government is not only waging war against Hamas but against the entire Palestinian population. The Israeli army drops more than a thousand bombs on the densely populated Gaza Strip every day, denying people access to necessities such as water, food, electricity, and medical care. Violence against residents of the West Bank is also escalating. Under international law, these are war crimes that must be prosecuted.
Like many other governments, the Slovenian government unconditionally supported Israel, bypassing the political context and supporting Israel’s occupation policy. Such reactions will not bring peace but deepen the feelings of powerlessness of the oppressed Palestinians and many Europeans who see the behaviour of Western governments as unprincipled and unjust. Some have even used the fight against anti-Semitism to repress pro-Palestinian protests in European cities undemocratically. Anyone who opposes the building of settlements in the occupied territories, displacement, the imprisonment of people in ghettos, and the killing of adults and children, is courageously resisting a policy of ethnic cleansing and cannot, by any reasonable definition, be considered an anti-Semite or even a supporter of Hamas.
We call on the representatives of Slovenia’s political leadership, both government and opposition, to stand up for respect for human rights and equality for all people. Not all Israelis are Netanyahu and not all Palestinians are members of Hamas. On both sides some people want peace, reject violence, and recognize each other’s equal rights. Unfortunately, radical forces are suppressing these efforts, with some countries supporting them, including our own. This is confirmed by the fate of many intellectuals and activists who had to leave their homelands. We strongly support their efforts to find a peaceful political solution and expect the political leadership to do the same.
The government can now show that it did not get the status of a non-permanent member of the Security Council just to obtain prestigious diplomatic positions, but really wanted to contribute to world peace. The number of armed conflicts and wars is increasing. More and more political power is in the hands of nationalists, racists, and religious fanatics. Both anti-Semitism and hatred against Muslims are on the rise. Societies are re-traditionalizing, and women and minorities remain without rights. Climate change threatens the existence of humanity and heralds new conflicts. The Slovenian government has the power to at least draw attention to all these dangers in the United Nations and at the level of the European Union. It has the power to do something so that conflicts will not be resolved through wars, but through talks, for which, among other things, we need international institutions that have long been weakened by the great powers for their selfish interests.
We call for an immediate end to the attacks on Gaza and Israel. A solution must be found to allow both Israelis and Palestinians equal opportunities to exercise their human, political, and economic rights. There is no solution without the pressure and intervention of the international community. The Oslo Agreement in 1993 has already paved the way for peace. If we do not go down this path, this war will be just another stop in a long spiral of violence leading to global conflict.