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Hands of Peace is one of many organizations working with Israelis, Palestinian Citizens of Israel and Palestinians to sign a Joint Declaration written on October 31, 2023, as war continues in Israel/Palestine. Hands of Peace is using our platform to amplify calls for de-escalation and systemic social change. At the same time, we acknowledge that the below declaration may not fully encompass the needs and desires of all of our constituencies. However, according to our Mission, Vision & Values, Hands of Peace believes all people deserve self-determination and basic human rights, and we will continue to support organizations and groups promoting non-violence.

The below declaration is just one of many calls for positive peace being promoted by civil society organizations globally and in the region. We invite you to also read the many Members’ Stories and Actions on the Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP) website. Hands of Peace is proud to stand in solidarity with these organizations and many others that continue to promote equality, freedom and justice in the face of devastating violence.  

A Jewish-Arab Joint Declaration for Peace

We – movements, organizations and activists, Jews and Arabs – write these words out of heavy mourning for the thousands of people killed in recent weeks, and out of terrible anxiety for the safety of the abducted and those who will still be harmed in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.

The brutal massacre carried out by Hamas on Oct. 7 left us all – Jews and Arabs – stunned and shocked. In the weeks that have passed since that cursed Sabbath, additional atrocities have been added to the atrocities committed by Hamas: thousands of people have been killed, and are still being killed, by the Israeli bombings in Gaza, many of whose residents have even been cut off from water and electricity.

Countless innocent children, women and elderly lost their lives on both sides; hundreds of thousands lost their homes and their world – harming innocents on one side does not balance the pain of the killing on the other side, but just adds more pain to the immense pain.

The occupation, the siege, the wars, the terrorism, the oppression, the racism and the violence, the damage to democracy and violation of human rights – all these brought the two peoples who live between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River to an unimaginable disaster, which has no measure. Precisely in these terrible days, the simple truth is clearer than ever: the freedom, security and life of all living in this land depend on each other.

In memory of the murdered and for the sake of the living, we must act together – Jews and Arabs – for the release of the kidnapped and captives, for the end of the war, for the end of the occupation and the conflict, for peace.

We, who believe in the way of democracy and peace, call to:

  1. Strive for a stable ceasefire, within which negotiations for a political agreement will be started immediately based on mutual recognition of the right of the two peoples to self-determination – an agreement that will guarantee security, freedom and well-being for both peoples.
  2. Immediately promote a broad prisoner deal (“all for all”).
  3. Immediately stop harming innocent civilians. There isn’t and cannot be any justification for harming the innocent.
  4. Act immediately to curb the rampant settler violence in the West Bank with the backing of the army, and to curb the transfer that this violence is trying to promote.
  5. Stop the persecution and oppression of Palestinian Citizens of Israel and of those who express solidarity with the residents of Gaza and oppose the war. Stop the violation of basic rights, including freedom of expression, freedom of demonstration, and more.

We have all experienced rounds of violence. Time and time again, it is evident that there is no  military solution to the conflict, nor can there ever be one. The only way to stop the bloodshed is a political agreement that will guarantee security, justice and freedom for both nations.

There are no winners in war. Only peace will bring security.

Signed:

Academia for Equality; Arava Institute for Environmental Studies; Banki; Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights; Combatants for Peace; Druze Initiative Committee; The Forum for the Fight Against Incitement; Hadash; Hands of Peace; Horiya; Jahalin Solidarity; Jordan Valley Activists; Kaa”- political working group; Looking the Occupation in the Eye; MachsomWatch; Mesarvot; Mothers Against Violence; Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality; New Profile; On the way to Sulha; Parents Against Child Detention; Parents Circle Families Forum; PsychoActive; Rabbis for Human Rights; Social Workers for Peace and Welfare; Tandi; Tomorrow’s Women; Torat Tzedek; Women in Black; Woman to Woman; Yesh Gvul; Your Neighbor as Yourself; Youth Against Dictatorship; Zazim – Community Action; Zochrot

* Most of the funding of some of the signed organizations originates from foreign political entities, as announced on the website of the Registrar of Associations.