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A Just Peace: The Only Way Out

GUSH SHALOM - pob 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033 -

Press Release: 21/5/2001

Joint Israeli-Palestinian Press Conference in Jerusalem: joint statement

Gush Shalom, the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy- MIFTAH, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and LAW held a joint Palestinian-Israeli press conference on Monday, May 21st, 2001, at 10:00 at the American Colony Hotel in east Jerusalem.

This press conference was held at the wake of Israel's attack on targets in the heavily populated cities of Ramallah, Nablus, Tulkarem, and Gaza on Friday May 18th, 2001, using US-supplied F16 fighter aircrafts.

Following is the joint statement issued at the conference:



Israel's use on Friday of F-16 warplanes for the first time since the 1967 War against targets in the heavily populated cities of Ramallah, Nablus, Tulkarem, and Gaza signals a dangerous escalation of the conflict to which the world cannot be indifferent. Israel's massive attacks on Friday and Saturday represent a concerted attempt to break Palestinian resistance to an unjust and imposed "peace," to use its powerful military arsenal to browbeat the Palestinians into submission, and specifically to cause the collapse of the Palestinian Authority. Behind the rhetoric of self-defense, of blaming the Palestinians for the violence, lies an absolute refusal to abandon its occupation, and in particular its steadily expanding settlements. While we deplore the loss of innocent life in the attack on the Netanya shopping center, an act immediately condemned by the Palestinian Authority as well, this is no way justifies the Israel government's attempt to cast its military campaign against the Palestinian people as mere "reaction." There is no symmetry here, no proportional or sensible link. The Israeli government presents its actions as "self-defense," as though there were no occupation.

Seven months of attacks with Apache helicopters, tanks, missiles and troops culminated (but did not end) in Friday's attacks on Palestinian cities with US-supplied F-16 warplanes. Add to this the destruction of hundreds of homes over the past seven months, the uprooting of thousands of fruit trees and the clearing of hundreds of acres of farm land, the wholesale attacks on the Palestinian infrastructure and the killing of more than 500 civilians, many of them children, and the claim of mere "reaction" collapses. So, too, does the illusion of symmetry.

Israeli policy, initiated by Ehud Barak and escalated by Ariel Sharon, highlights the futility of trying to impose an inadequate solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by force. There is only one way out: through a just peace based on an end to the Israeli Occupation, the emergence of a viable and truly sovereign Palestinian state and the resolution of the refugee issue in accordance with UN Resolution 194. Despite the current polarization of our peoples, we believe that the overwhelming majorities in both our societies desire a genuine peace.

We, representatives of Palestinian and Israeli human rights and peace organizations, call on the international community:

· To end the Israeli government's escalation of military force against the Palestinian people, to lift the multiple siege on Palestinian towns and villages, to put an end to Israel's policy of political assassinations, extra judicial killings and abduction of targeted Palestinian political figures and activists, to stop the destruction of human lives, to stop the demolition of Palestinian homes and to stop the uprooting of trees and confiscation of land.

· To take immediate and concrete steps in providing international protection to the Palestinian people;

· To oppose Israeli attempts to strengthen its Occupation, including settlement activities, as called for by the Egyptian-Jordanian initiative and the Mitchell Commission;

· To hold Israel accountable according to the principles of international humanitarian law and UN Resolutions; and

· To ensure that any peace settlement be based on a complete Israeli withdrawal from the Occupied Territories, including east Jerusalem, and conformity with United Nations Resolutions 242, 338 and 194, and the 'land-for-peace' equation, formally adopted in Washington DC in 1993.

Only a just peace will free both our peoples from the tragic loss of life this weekend has brought us.


Palestinian & Israeli organizations

Hanan Ashrawi, MIFTAH
Uri Avneri, Gush Shalom
Khader Sheqirat, LAW
Leah Tsemel, Attorney
Jeff Halper, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions

Sign the "Our Jerusalem, Capital of Two States" petition
full text in Hebrew, Arabic and English at

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