An Open Letter on the Situation in Palestine

We, the undersigned artists and writers based in the EU, the UK and North America, are speaking out to demand an end to the violence and destruction in Palestine.

The deliberate killing of civilians is always an atrocity. It is a violation of international law and an outrage against the sanctity of human life. Neither Israel, the occupying power, nor the armed groups of the people under occupation, the Palestinians, can ever be justified in targeting defenceless people. We can only express our grief and heartbreak for the victims of these most recent tragedies, and for their families, both Palestinians and Israelis.

Nothing can retrieve what has already been lost. But the unprecedented and indiscriminate violence that is still escalating against the 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza, with the financial and political support of Western powers, can and must be brought to an end. By cutting off vital electricity, food and water supplies; by attempting to displace by force over one million Palestinians from their homes, with no guarantee of return; and by carrying out continual airstrikes against civilians, including those who are attempting to evacuate, the state of Israel is committing grave crimes against humanity. Its allies, our own governments, are complicit in these crimes.

Human rights groups have long condemned Israel’s occupation of Palestine and the inhumane treatment of – and system of racial domination over – Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli state. But we are now witnessing a new and even more drastic emergency. The UN expert Francesca Albanese has warned that Israel’s current actions in Gaza constitute a form of ethnic cleansing. The Israeli historian Raz Segal has described the situation in Gaza as a ‘textbook case of genocide’.

We call on our governments to demand an immediate ceasefire and the unimpeded admission of humanitarian aid into Gaza. We also demand an end to all arms shipments and military funding, supplies that can only exacerbate the humanitarian catastrophe at hand. Although these measures will not be enough to secure true justice, liberation and equality, they represent an urgent and indispensable first step. We plead for an end to all violence, an end to all oppression and denial of human rights, and a path towards a just and sustainable peace for all.

Sally Rooney, Naomi Klein, Gillian Slovo, Kamila Shamsie, Kathleen Alcott, Kevin Barry, Sara Baume, Claire-Louise Bennett, Ronan Bennett, Fatima Bhutto, David Butler, June Caldwell, Seamus Cashman, Rachel Connolly, Selma Dabbagh, Margaretta D’Arcy, Edwidge Danticat, Natalie Diaz, Reni Eddo-Lodge, Yara El-Ghadban, Anne Enright, Caleb Femi, Esther Freud, Mia Gallagher, Francisco Goldman, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Isabella Hammad, Honor Heffernan, Rita Ann Higgins, Louise Kennedy, Trevor Knight, Laila Lalami, Ben Lerner, Jonathan Lethem, Patricia Lockwood, Andrea Long Chu, Rosa Lyster, Carmen Maria Machado, Sophie Mackintosh, Niall MacMonagle, Lisa McInerney, Maaza Mengiste, China Miéville, Pankaj Mishra, Sepideh Moafi, Noor Naga, Viet Nguyen, Megan Nolan, Iman Qureshi, Youssef Rakha, Yara Rodrigues Fowler, James Schamus, Olivia Sudjic, Susan Tomaselli, Eley Williams, Gary Younge …

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