An aerial view of a Gaza City neighborhood pulverized by Israeli airstrikes.

An aerial photography taken October 10, 2023 shows a neighborhood of Gaza City destroyed by Israeli bombardment.

(Photo: Al Araby/Wikimedia Commons)

1,100+ People Sign 'Israelis Against Apartheid' Petition for Immediate Gaza Cease-Fire

"The Israeli government is using the tremendous loss of Israeli civilian lives to implement a genocidal campaign on the men, women, and children of Gaza," the group said.

More than 1,100 people have signed an open letter by Israelis Against Apartheid urging the international community "to intervene immediately to stop the indiscriminate bombing of 2.3 million people living in the Gaza strip," the U.S-based group Jewish Voice for Peace said Tuesday.

"We, Israeli citizens, are watching with grave concern the ongoing massive Israeli military assault on the people of Gaza," states the letter, which is hosted by Jewish Voice for Peace. The signers noted that the besieged coastal enclave "has been bombed day and night by land, air, and sea since October 7."

That was the day Hamas-led militants launched a surprise infiltration attack on Israel, killing more than 1,400 Israeli civilians and soldiers. Since then, Israel's relentless bombardment of Gaza has killed over 3,500 Palestinians, including more than 1,000 children, while Israel has cut off food, fuel, and electricity to the densely populated strip—an apparent war crime.

"The horrors and atrocities starting October 7 are indescribable. Thousands of civilians—Israelis and Palestinians—are paying the price of apartheid."

"We fear that in the coming hours, Gaza's hospitals will turn into graveyards," continues the letter, which was written before an attack on the al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City killed hundreds of civilians on Tuesday. "With fuel reserves for electricity generators all used up, there will be no more power for operation rooms, vital monitors, ventilators, ICU drips, newborn incubators, or even lights. Communication networks are failing and people can no longer call for ambulances."

The letter also urges the international community to "prevent the imminent and disastrous ground military invasion into Gaza."

"In the face of an unprecedented huge-scale humanitarian disaster, the Israeli government should be pressured to desist immediately, before more lives are wasted on top of the thousands already lost," the signers asserted. "We call on the Israeli government to agree to a prisoner and hostage exchange immediately, and for a safe humanitarian corridor to be created for civilians and supplies, electricity, and fuel to the medical facilities."

"The horrors and atrocities starting October 7 are indescribable. Thousands of civilians—Israelis and Palestinians—are paying the price of apartheid," the letter concludes. "We are calling you to intervene immediately to stop the war crimes that are still happening."

Israelis Against Apartheid was formed in 2021 during Israel's last major assault on Gaza.

"As we watch now hundreds killed in an Israeli airstrike on a Gaza hospital, we implore the international community to stop its cooperation and support for any further killing and displacement of civilians," the group said in a statement.

"The Israeli government is using the tremendous loss of Israeli civilian lives to implement a genocidal campaign on the men, women, and children of Gaza, ignoring calls of Israelis, including those who just lost their loved ones, to stop," the organization added.

The open letter follows Jewish-led protests across the U.S., with scores of demonstrators arrested in cities including New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. Another major Jewish-led protest is planned for Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

While many Israelis bristle at the assertion that their country is perpetrating apartheid, a growing number of prominent Israelis including former Attorney General Michael Ben-Yair, former Deputy Attorney General Yehudit Karp, and former ambassadors to South Africa Alon Liel and Ilan Baruch, endorse the description. So do more and more Israeli journalists, artists, veterans, and human rights groups, including Yesh Din and B'Tselem.

A growing number of Israelis are also accusing their country of genocide, pointing to Israel's indiscriminate killing of thousands of Palestinians, the order for 1.1 million Gazans to flee for their lives ahead of an expected ground invasion, and incendiary statements made by Israeli leaders.

For example, far-right Israeli parliamentarian Ariel Kallner last week called for a new Nakba—the ethnic cleansing of more than 750,000 Arabs from Palestine by militant Zionists establishing the modern state of Israel—while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week described Gazan civilians as "children of darkness" and Israeli President Isaac Herzog said there were no innocent civilians in Gaza.

"When we look at the actions taken, the dropping of thousands and thousands of bombs in a couple of days, including phosphorus bombs, as we heard, on one of the most densely populated areas around the world, together with these proclamations of intent, this indeed constitutes genocidal killing, which is the first act, according to the convention, of genocide," Israeli Holocaust scholar Raz Segal toldDemocracy Now! on Monday, referring to provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

"And Israel, I must say, is also perpetrating act number two and three—that is, causing serious bodily or mental harm, and creating conditions designed to bring about the destruction of the group by cutting off water, food, supply of energy, bombing hospitals, ordering the fast evictions of hospitals, which the World Health Organization has declared to be, quote, 'a death sentence,'" he continued.

"So, we're seeing the combination of genocidal acts with special intent," Segal added. "This is indeed a textbook case of genocide."

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