Former President Jimmy Carter speaks during a press conference

Former President Jimmy Carter speaks during a press conference at the Carter Center on August 20, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.

(Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images/AFP)

'No Military Solution': Carter Center Joins Call for Gaza Cease-Fire, Diplomatic Talks

"Collective punishment is contrary to international law," the organization founded by former President Jimmy Carter said. "So is the murder of civilians."

The Carter Center, founded by the only U.S. president to identify Israel's violent policies in Palestine as apartheid, on Tuesday joined international calls for a cease-fire in Gaza as the number of Palestinians killed in Israeli attacks since October 7 reached at least 8,525.

The organization, which former President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter established to fight for human rights worldwide, quoted the Democratic politician and humanitarian in its statement: "We will not learn to live together in peace by killing each other's children."

"We urge all parties to agree to a cease-fire," said the Carter Center. "We ask for the opening of humanitarian corridors into Gaza and the reinstatement of essential services to the area. We urge the immediate, safe return of all hostages, and we call on both sides to abide by international law."

The call for a cease-fire came as one United Nations official warned that the blockaded enclave of Gaza has devolved into a "graveyard" for children since Israel shut off access to fuel, electricity, water, and food and began launching repeated airstrikes in retaliation of Hamas' attack on southern Israel on October 7.

At least 3,542 of the Palestinians killed in Israel's attacks have been children, and at least 1,000 more are missing as residential neighborhoods are reduced to rubble.

"Hamas is responsible for the horrific October 7 massacre of more than 1,400 innocent people in Israel and the taking of more than 200 hostages," said the Carter Center. "And the innocent people of Gaza are now unfairly suffering from the ongoing conflict and the acute humanitarian crisis that has unfolded."

"Collective punishment is contrary to international law," the organization continued. "So is the murder of civilians."

Hamas on Saturday called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to agree to an exchange of the Israeli civilians taken hostage by the group when it launched its surprise attack, and the Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons; the family members of some Israeli hostages have also called for an "all for all" prisoner exchange.

But bolstered by the Biden administration and U.S. politicians including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Netanyahu has rejected calls for a cease-fire, which UNICEF on Tuesday said could save the lives of 1,000 children in Gaza in just 72 hours.

"The violence must stop now," said the Carter Center. "There is no military solution to this crisis, only a political one that acknowledges the common humanity of both Israelis and Palestinians, respects the human rights of all, and creates a path for both societies to live side by side in peace."

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