Veterans For Peace Hamas-Israel Statement
October 12, 2023
Veterans For Peace is an organization of former soldiers and allies who know too well the costs of war – the obvious, visible wounds; the unseen wounds that curse us and our families for generations and the cost to society of maintaining a military larger than the next ten nations combined. Bitter experience taught us that war is insanity and suffering.
We oppose all targeting of civilians. We denounce Hamas’ attacks on Israeli civilians and deplore Israel’s crushing response in Gaza. We also recognize this war did not start last week, it has gone on for decades. Over $150 billion of our tax dollars have provided Israel unlimited weaponry and diplomatic cover has allowed it to expand its occupation such that 16 years ago former President Jimmy Carter clearly labeled it apartheid.
Our government fans the flames beneath the pressure cooker of occupation and our taxes make us complicit. We should not pretend shock at a violent response after Palestinian homes are destroyed to make way for Israeli “settlers” and Gaza is locked down, year after year, by a draconian air, sea and land blockade. History is defined by when you start the clock.
In the war of competing propaganda, we recognize that U.S. officials fabricate incidents for corporate media consumption, such as President Biden claiming he saw photos of beheaded Israeli children. Hours later, as reported by news outlets from the Palestine Chronicle to Business Insider, a White House spokesperson had to “walk back” Biden’s claims. But just like the Bush administration claims in 1991 that Iraqi soldiers threw Kuwaiti babies out of incubators, once the lie is out, the truth rarely catches up.
This cycle of violence, coupled with the reality that war is an uncontrollable force with its own agency and purposes, results in the terrors we witness.
Neither side has a military path to victory, which is why we strongly oppose our government’s plans to send troops, aircraft carriers and more munitions and President Biden’s promise to fully support Israel’s assault on the people of Gaza. We support a ceasefire, negotiations and release of prisoners from all sides.
Only a political process will dismantle the apartheid system, answer the grievances of the Palestinian people, create a democratic system that provides rights for all the people of Israel and Palestine, and finally bring lasting security and peace. Without that political process, the cycle of violence will magnify, dooming more generations of Israelis and Palestinians.
We lift up the words of our brother and sister military veterans, both Palestinian and Israeli, members of Combatants for Peace:
“Our hearts are with all of the victims and their families, and we hope for the safe return of those held captive, and for the safety of the civilians trapped inside Gaza…Together, we must retain our humanity, and value all life as sacred and cherished…The only solution is ending the occupation, uniting Israelis and Palestinians and focusing our collective efforts on achieving peace.”
October 12, 2023