“Making meaningful efforts towards ending violence and building peace will do far more to ensure security and safety for Israel’s citizens,” says Éamonn Meehan, Executive Director at Trócaire.
Trócaire began working in Israel and in the Palestinian territories in 2002. We work with both Israeli and Palestinian partners to further the cause of peace and understanding in the region.
When I visited Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory in January of this year, I witnessed first-hand the devastation that prolonged occupation is having on Palestinian communities. In Gaza, I witnessed the effects of ongoing cycles of violence and the economic impoverishment of the people by the economic blockade imposed by Israel.
Israel’s current military operations in Gaza strike me as ultimately self-defeating for their own security. Israel should recognise that collectively punishing and impoverishing the people of Gaza, including conducting extensive and disproportionate airstrikes in dense urban areas which inevitably result in large numbers of civilian casualties, will only create anger and hopelessness among the ordinary people of Gaza. Such resentment regrettably results in further violence.
The actions of both Hamas and Israel contravene international law. Both sides are acting recklessly and without regard for the safety of either Palestinian or Israeli civilians.
Ultimately, the sort of cyclical violence that we have seen over recent days, will only lead to a continuation of the situation whereby millions of Palestinians are impoverished and live without hope and Israeli citizens live in daily fear of rocket attacks.
Making meaningful efforts towards ending violence and building peace will do far more to ensure security and safety for Israel’s citizens. As His Holiness Pope Francis stated on his recent visit to the Holy Land, there is a need to create, “a stable peace based on justice, the recognition of the rights of every individual, and on mutual security.”