10 June 2021 | The Jewish Voice of Solidarity and other initiatives
The open letter in Czech here, press release in Czech here
Us, the citizens of this country, are shocked at the number of civilian casualties, including tens of children, whose lives have been claimed during the latest events in Palestine-Israel. We are informed by human rights groups focusing on the rights of children of the staggering consequences of Israeli bombing, which cannot be simply misconstrued as self-defence, according to international law. Gaza Strip is today one of the most densely populated areas in the world and, as per several UN reports, due to the persistent Israeli blockade, it constantly verges on the edge of collapse and a humanitarian disaster. In this situation, the massive bombing of the hermetically sealed territory by the Israeli army, as we have recently witnessed, cannot remain without heavy loss of life.
As citizens of a country that has undergone a double occupation in modern times, we cannot fail to see a long-term disregard for the causes and the context of the so-called Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which include the blockade of Gaza and especially the continuous Israeli occupation Palestinian territory, its illegal resettling by the Israeli population and using the methods of apartheid on the Palestinian people, as was recently described by the respected human rights organizations Human Rights Watch and Israel’s B’Tselem. These are some of the reasons that have triggered the current increased tensions, and especially in the case of the expulsions of the Palestinians from East Jerusalem.
We also consider it unsustainable to ignore the full breadth of the legitimate Palestinian resistance to the occupation. Tens of thousands of Gaza residents have taken part in peaceful protests for over a year. Hundreds of them have been shot, thousands have been injured during the shooting so severely that their limbs had to be amputated. Unfortunately, this voice of non-violence at mass demonstrations is hardly reflected in the political and media world of the Czech Republic, in contrast to the violent repercussions to this resistance.
We want to emphasize that we consider Israeli civilian casualties to be just as painful and perceive them as victims of one and the same conflict, which, however, stems from the imbalance of power and the occupation of Palestinian territories.
We support an independent investigation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) as the only possible tool for seeking out justice. We would like to highlight that the ICC’s investigation into the reasonable suspicion of war crimes by both the Israeli military in the occupied Palestinian territories and by the Hamas movement has recently been supported by several dozen former European ministers and prime ministers. However, unlike the Palestinian side, the Israelis did not join the investigation and through the prime minister even rejected it as an act of anti-Semitism. However, both in the past and today, Israel proves that it does not want to address the accusations of Israeli occupation, and is not interested in investigating it.
In this context, we also see as unfounded the rejection of the independent investigation of the public UN Commission on Human Rights, which was presented on behalf of the Czech Republic during its last meeting in Geneva by a representative of your ministry with reference to the alleged independence of Israeli courts.
We therefore call on you to openly support the investigation of established international courts and institutions into human rights violations in Palestine-Israel and to support the call of former ministers and prime ministers of European countries to support this investigation. As proof of impartiality and objectivity, the Israeli flag should be lowered from the ministry building, as it is the flag of an occupying power refusing to respect international law, or it should not be hoisted in the future.
Markéta Hrbková, Joe Grim Feinberg
The Jewish Voice of Solidarity
Matyáš Pilin, Jasmin Zakie, Mariana Ahmadová
Tereza Langrová, Zdeněk Jehlička
Initiative Not in Our Name! –For a Just Peace in the Middle East
International solidarity movement (ISM)
Friends of Palestine
Prague, June 10, 2021