WRI executive statement on the escalation of violence in Israel-Palestine, October 2023
As full scale war again returns to Israel-Palestine, we turn to the WRI founding statement, that “War is a crime against humanity. I am therefore determined not to support any kind of war, and to strive for the removal of all causes of war.”
War is sometimes fought with bombs and bullets. Sometimes it is fought by restricting access to the resources that allow people to meet their basic needs, and for humanity to flourish. As antimilitarists, we can and will always reject and condemn both the immediate, deliberate and organised violence that grabs headlines and shocks the world, and simultaneously recognise that the violence that has occurred in Israel-Palestine since Saturday 7th October is rooted in a decades long, asymmetrical, grinding conflict.
We also want to recognise that, though many of us will have our attention drawn to the shocking and immediate violence, we often fail to act or engage during the times of “normal”, sustained but no less damaging acts of violence and oppression. This is true for Israel-Palestine, but also in Nagorno-Karabakh, Rojava, West Papua, and so many other places.
When violence escalates, we may feel like we need to “pick a side”, and there will be many voices demanding that we do so. However, we also reject such a binary way of looking at the world, that make us think others as enemies who must be oppressed or killed and the difference be eliminated. No matter how loud these demands become we know that there are, have been, and always will be people and communities who reject the false choice violence demands. Instead, we align with those that choose to build security not with guns and bombs, but by nonviolently building trust and cooperation, supporting those who refuse to kill even when under immense pressure to do so, and perhaps even dare to imagine a more just and peaceful world. We want to again commit ourselves to hearing and amplifying these voices.
We, as War Resisters' International executive committee, as people from different countries and territories, condemn the violence and destruction from all sides, in any way and stand in solidarity with conscientious objectors, and all those who believe in peaceful, nonviolent approaches to resolve conflicts.