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Enough is enough! A call for pressure on Israel

Translated Thursday 11 September 2014, by Brooke Cochran

"Enough is enough!" shouted Madeleine Rebérioux, Pierre Vidal-Naquet, Stephan Hessel and others in December 2001, when Yasser Arafat and Palestinian authority in Ramallah were subjected to dramatic blows. We are also repeating this call today in the face of the new military offensive that is going nowhere.

It is accomplishing no more than the Israeli army’s previous operations in Gaza did, and no more than the invasion of Lebanon did, which this same group reacted to on July 27, 2006 with an article entitled “Enough!” This was the last article that Pierre Vidal-Naquet signed a few days before his death. It said, most importantly, “Contrary to warmongers’ logic, we think that military victories do not guarantee Israel’s future. Only an open dialogue and the patient search for coexistence with a true Palestinian state would make it possible for the Israelis to come to peace with their Arab neighbors."

One month after the Israeli army entered Gaza, the death toll is quite significant: more than 2,000 Palestinians are dead, 85% of those are civilians, not taking into account the thousands of wounded and the hundreds of thousands of people left homeless, as well as 67 dead Israelis, 3 of which were civilians. Certainly, there is no winner, and there cannot be a winner.

The Israeli authorities thought they could control all of the Gaza Strip and force the armed groups to cease fighting. They realized, after encountering resistance there, that it would be at the cost of numerous losses in their ranks, transforming the whole territory into a field of ruins, and several thousand civilian casualties. More than 90% of Israel supported this war and now, after one month, the majority feels that it did not lead them to a victory. In fact, when a guerrilla hides underground to fight, it shows that he has the support of a large majority of the population and, at the same time, that his soldiers are ready to dig their own graves rather than surrender. We all know that there are no military solutions and that only a political solution is possible.

But, Israeli society does not want to find a solution today built around two states and withdrawal from the Palestinian territories that have been occupied since 1967. Such a solution could assure a peaceful future for Israel in the long run. Warlike hysteria, with often outright racist undertones, broke out during this last month of military operations in Gaza. It was accompanied by never-before seen repression of Israeli pacifists as well as violence against Palestinians, including those of Israeli nationality. It intensified an already-dominant blind nationalism. A nationalism so blind that it led the Israeli government to suspend its participation in negotiations, after a glimpse of a lasting truce, and to go back to bombing Gaza.

A solution can come only from a determined approach on the part of the international community and from sanctions against the state of Israel and its institutions. Israel will be prompted to finally respect international law and the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians to live in peace within secure, recognized borders.

Yet, 57 years after the Six-Day War, colonization of the West Bank continues, and Gaza’s inhabitants are still locked up in a ghetto deemed worthy of occupation. The legitimate emotions that this situation evokes in our country, and everywhere in the world, certainly must not be twisted by an extreme minority which misinterprets support for the Palestinian people’s rights as an unbearable anti-Semitism that must be repressed. But, nothing justifies how some Jewish community organizations apply the slanderous label of anti-Semite to people who demand statehood for Palestine nice and loud. It is also unacceptable that these same organizations name themselves representatives of Israeli interests. Then they try to criminalize any citizen’s attempt (for example a boycott of Israeli products) to oppose a policy that is murderous for Palestinians and suicidal for Israelis.

Like the government, we don’t accept importing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into France. But we disallow that the right to express oneself is dependent on this or that alliance. Then our ability to have a democratic discussion is questioned, opening the way to house arrests and community confrontations. No one can justify naming himself the spokesperson of one of the parties in the conflict.

Faced with this new destructive war, faced with attacks on freedom of expression, we cannot stay silent. We ask: that the United Nations impose, under penalty of sanctions, the permanent withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza; that it send a peacekeeping force to also protect the Palestinian people and end the aerial, maritime, and border blockades of this territory; that the European Union suspend its agreement to be associated with Israel, as is stated in Article 2; that France immediately cease any military cooperation with Israel and put a total embargo on weapons and technology transfers that might be used in a military capacity in Israel; that Palestine finally be recognized as a full member of the UN; that the Security Council make use of the International Criminal Court, so that the persons charged for war crimes have to report to a justice; that they impose a tracking system on Israeli products from the colonies to distinguish them from others; and that they stop hounding those who try to respect the legislation or express their solidarity with the Palestinian people. We call for a more determined commitment from the democratic French position to enforce international law, support the Palestinians’ aspirations that have been crushed for far too long, stop colonization, renounce the "Greater Israel" project, and make Israeli society finally understand that it is at a suicidal impasse and that it must face reality.

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