As Nobel Peace Laureates, we welcome the recent Israel-Gaza ceasefire that has put an end to the 11-day war – a war that left more that 250 people dead. Palestinians account for the vast majority of the dead and the indiscriminate and disproportionate bombing of Gaza has resulted in widespread devastation.
But in addition to the ceasefire to stop the current round of violence, what is needed is an end to the cycles of violence resulting from over 50 years of Israeli occupation. The ongoing military blockade of Gaza, the forced evictions, harassment and violence against the Palestinians must stop. The relentless and steady encroachment on Palestinian land must stop. The Israeli occupation will never lead to sustainable peace for Palestinians and Israelis. As Nobel Peace Laureates, we call for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.
We, also, call on the international community to hold Israel accountable for crimes committed. The deliberate targeting of civilian areas is a violation of international law. Israel’s continuing collective punishment of the Palestinian people is a war crime. United Nations’ mechanisms and Special Procedures must be used to hold Israel to account for its use of excessive force in Gaza and to ensure the security of Palestinian civilians.
Recent bombings forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes in Gaza. Many are now returning to find homes that have been destroyed or are unfit for habitation. Over 800,000 people have no access to clean water. International assistance is needed – both for long-term reconstruction and to ensure immediate access to much-need medical supplies and food.
Work must also be done to ensure that the current ceasefire holds. To ensure stable ceasefires and to build lasting peace, there must be a commitment to effective and consequential participation of women in peace talks.
Finally, although ending the current conflict is critical, it does not represent true “peace.” True peace will not happen as long as Israel continues to receive open and tacit support for its policies of oppression against Palestinians. True peace can only be secured when the basic human rights, human dignity and freedom of the people of Palestine are respected.
Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Peace Laureate (2011) – Liberia
Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Laureate (2003) – Iran
Tawakkol Karman, Nobel Peace Laureate (2011) – Yemen
Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Nobel Peace Laureate (1992) – Guatemala
Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate (1997) – USA