Mass Jewish-Arab coalition comes together inside Israel to demand ceasefire now

JERUSALEM—Dozens of Jewish and Arab movements, organizations, and activists in Israel published a joint statement Monday demanding a ceasefire and prisoner exchanges.

The statement declares, “We 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 abductees and those who will still be harmed in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank.

“The brutal massacre committed by Hamas on Oct. 7 left us all—Jews and Arabs—shocked,” it says, referring to the initial attacks which sparked the current war. “Additional atrocities have been added to the atrocities committed by Hamas: Many thousands have been killed, and are still being killed, by the Israeli bombings in Gaza.”

The signatories call for an immediate ceasefire so that negotiations for a political agreement based on mutual recognition of the right of the two peoples to self-determination can begin.

“The occupation, the siege, the wars, the terrorism, the oppression, the racism, the violence, and the violation of democracy and human rights—all these have brought the two peoples who live between the sea and the Jordan River to an unimaginable disaster, which has no measure,” the statement says, laying out all the many Israeli state policies which helped lead to the current war.

Among the many groups that have signed the joint statement so far are the Israeli-Palestinian Bereaved Families Forum, Rabbis’ Voice for Human Rights, Mothers Against Violence, the Communist Party of Israel, Israeli Communist Youth Alliance, Hadash (Democratic Front for Peace and Equality), Fighters for Peace, the Democratic Women’s Movement in Israel, Looking at the Occupation with Open Eyes, Parents Against Child Arrests, the Negev Coexistence Forum, Youth Against Dictatorship, and many more.

The organizations say the only road to lasting peace is a political agreement that guarantees the security, freedom, and well-being for both Israelis and Palestinians. They also demand an immediate cessation of harming innocent civilians and argue that a prisoner exchange is an important first step.

A major shift in Israeli policy—both toward Palestinians and its own Arab citizens—is essential for long-term stability, they argue.

“There is and cannot be any justification for harming the innocent…. [Israel] must act immediately to curb the rampant settler violence in the West Bank with the backing of the army and to curb the expulsion [of Palestinians] that this violence is trying to promote. Likewise, the persecution and oppression of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel and of those who express solidarity with the residents of Gaza and opposition to the war must be stopped.”

They trash the Netanyahu government for violating basic rights to free speech and freedom of assembly. All anti-war protests or ceasefire demonstrations are banned by government order.

“In memory of the murdered and for life, 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 the sake of peace,” they add.

“We are aware that there is and cannot be a military solution to the conflict. 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,” the signatories emphasize.

This is an edited version of an article which originally appeared in Zo HaDerekh.


Zo HaDerekh
Zo HaDerekh

Zo HaDerekh (This Is The Way) is the Communist Party of Israel's Hebrew-language newspaper.