Gaza – Defending the Rights and Dignity Amidst Escalating Military Aggression and Conflict

La Via Campesina’s Official Statement | 14 October 2023, Bagnolet

We are deeply shocked and outraged by the escalation of crimes against humanity committed by the Israeli occupation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. For 75 years, the Palestinian people have continued to suffer from living under occupation and siege and endured numerous attacks and arrests. Now, for more than six consecutive days, Israel has launched hundreds of air and artillery raids on the Gaza Strip, sometimes using internationally banned white phosphorus. Therefore, the collective punishment of more than two million people living in Gaza is unforgivable and must be condemned. Targeting residential areas, schools, medical institutions and government buildings are unacceptable and a violation of international law.

As a global peasant movement, we firmly reject violence against civilians and military conflict to resolve disputes. We urgently call for immediate de-escalation on all fronts and a return to the path of dialogue and non-violent conflict resolution.

Israel’s attacks against civilians in the past week have resulted in the deaths and injuries of thousands of Palestinians, with the majority being women, children, and babies. Moreover, in this critical moment, power stations have been obliterated, water supplies to the Gaza Strip have been cut off, and food access for over two million Palestinians has been blocked, creating a dire humanitarian crisis, an unjustified collective punishment.

This vicious cycle of violence and human suffering stems from a long-standing history of uninterrupted occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people, with Israel’s brutal settler-colonialism, and military siege at its core.

For many years, the people of Gaza have been denied food sovereignty, suffered from high levels of food insecurity, unemployment, land and sea dispossession, and limited access to essential services necessary for survival. The Palestinian people have been denied their dignity for decades. Since 2006, they have endured an illegal siege that violates their basic human rights, restricts their mobility, and subjects them to pervasive surveillance.

This cruelty must cease. Instead of supporting Israel’s aggression under the guise of retaliation and the ‘right to defend,’ all countries must urgently employ diplomatic means to halt this military escalation and encourage all parties involved to return to negotiations and dialogue.

Calls to open corridors for the safe passage for people to flee Gaza play into the long-term plans of Israel to remove them and occupy their lands. Why should the people of Gaza leave their territory? More Palestinian refugees is not the solution! Palestinians endure the continuous humiliation of losing their land to make way for Israeli settlements. Palestinians have a right to stay in their homeland.

As La Via Campesina, we express our solidarity and support for the Palestinian people in these tough and complex conditions.

As an international peasant movement, we urgently call for:

  • Stopping this military escalation and urging all parties involved to return to a process of negotiation and dialogue.
  • Urging all governments and the UN to use their influence to halt this escalation and act swiftly in all international forums to end this ongoing occupation and the war against the Palestinian people.
  • Urging the immediate provision of international protection for the Palestinian people.
  • Urging the immediate restoration of access to energy, food, and water supplies, as well as the provision of all necessary medical supplies for Gaza. Israel has bombed hospitals and medicine warehouses and destroyed most of the infrastructure, creating a catastrophic situation.

As a global peasant movement, LVC will mobilize to provide any support needed by Palestinian peasants and fisherfolk to protect and maintain food production under these increasingly harsh conditions. We are calling upon all social movements to mobilize and support the Palestinian people and to pressure their governments to de-escalate this military conflict and initiate a process of negotiation and dialogue to address the catastrophic situation of the Palestinian people. This is essential to put an end to the conflict, the loss of life, and the destruction, this brutal occupation and ultimately the granting of all rights to the Palestinian people, with their right to establish an independent state being foremost among them.

Also Read: UAWC condemns Israel’s use of starvation as a weapon of war in Gaza