Voices rise against Israeli war in Gaza

Wednesday October 25 2023

People take part in a rally to express their solidarity with Palestinians in Karachi, Pakistan on October 25, 2023. PHOTO | AFP


More leaders are joining the chorus to call on Israel to halt its war on Hamas in Gaza, cautioning the violence could worsen the humanitarian crisis for both sides.

The African Union joined the Arab League on Wednesday to restate the “unwavering support” for the Palestinian cause, including a longterm peace solution, but called for a cessation of violence for the sake of civilians.

It is the second time the two blocs have issued a joint statement that also lampooned Israel for the siege on Gaza.

Read: AU chief accuses Israel of war crimes in Gaza

On Tuesday, the Council of Arab League Ambassadors in Kenyan capital Nairobi said peace between Israel and Palestine must be based on the “centrality of the Palestinian cause” in determining long-term peace in the Gaza Strip.

“They said they were “condemning all violations of human dignity that the brotherly Palestinian people are subjected to under occupation, the aggression and violations they are currently exposed to.”


The Arab League, which includes most of Israel’s immediate neighbours, has been critical of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza which had by Tuesday seen more than 5,000 Palestinians killed.

The envoys say a long-term solution must be based on the rights of Palestinians establishing their own independent state.

On Wednesday, the Elders, a group of global influential leaders on the peace front, said that while they condemn the terror attack of Hamas on Israel which started the war on October 7, they also condemn Israel for excessive use of force on civilians.

Read: Arab support for Palestinians swells

“These are mass atrocities for which the perpetrators must be brought to justice, preferably in a court of law,” the Elders said, referring to the Hamas attack on a concert on October 7, which killed more than 1,400 people.

“We also condemn the Israeli government’s unacceptable collective punishment of the population of Gaza through siege, the scale of the military assault and its death toll, and the forcible transfer of civilians within the territory, as well as the continuing land and home incursions and demolitions in the West Bank and settler violence against Palestinian communities.

“These are not legitimate acts of self-defence:  they are clear violations of international humanitarian law, and some amount to atrocities for which there needs to be criminal accountability.”

The Palestinian and Israeli peoples are intertwined by history, geography and legacies of sacrifice and suffering, the group said calling for an end to violence to protect civilians.

The Israeli-Palestine conflict spans over five decades. But Hamas, labelled as a terrorist group in Israel and most Western countries, emerged in 2006. It now runs Gaza Strip even though there haven’t been elections since 2016. Its militant arm said it attacked Israel to repay for the continual siege under which Palestinians live.

Read: Who are the leaders of Hamas?

On Tuesday, Kenya’s President William Ruto who had earlier condemned Hamas attack on Israel, said both sides must climb down their attacks.

At a forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Ruto said the conflict was hurting everyone else including those in Africa who rely on imports from the Middle East.

“Every human being’s life is scared. We should find ways to resolve issues and deal with conflicts without shading human blood,” he urged, responding to questions on the current geopolitical tension in the global at the at the 7th Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

“Kenya bore the brunt in the struggle for independence and the terrorist attacks, we must not shed blood,” appealed Ruto while speaking on Africa’s potential to lead in renewable energy and addressing the urgent need for strategic climate financing

“We must protect the sanctity of human life. We cannot get solutions through the barrel of a gun. Issues cannot be resolved through conflict.”