October 11, 2015
The Board of Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East (UUJME) is deeply saddened and alarmed by the increasing violence in Palestine-Israel. The past several months have seen an escalation in Palestinian protests in response to killings and attacks on property and religious sites by Israeli settlers, many of whom carry guns and use them at will and with near-total impunity. A growing number of Palestinians have been killed, including children, with hundreds injured and hundreds more arrested. A growing number of Israelis are being killed and injured.
Our U.S. tax dollars are paying for the occupation in the form of billions of dollars in weapons. In the next month, the U.S. government is considering a $45 billion military aid package for Israel over the next 10 years, a 50% increase. See http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-asking-us-for-50-increase-in-next-defense-package/. UUJME believes that the path to peace, justice, and security for Israelis and Palestinians is not to be found in more military aid.
The Palestinian Red Crescent has declared a state of emergency after attacks on its ambulances and medical personnel by Israeli soldiers and settlers, and due to the growing number of deaths and injuries. Each incident produces a wave of protests, with Palestinian protesters targeted with lethal force, and vigilante style attacks against both Israelis and Palestinians.
The latest escalation of violence is not a conflict between two equal sides, but between a powerful state’s military occupation infrastructure and a relatively defenseless occupied civilian population. The situation is the longest military occupation in modern history, 48 years. The occupation denies freedom and equality to millions of Palestinians and also represses Israelis who oppose the occupation.