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The War in Israel/Palestine 

The months following October 7th have been one never-ending nightmare. All of us, Jews and Palestinians, across Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank, have endured unprecedented loss and trauma. The horrendous Hamas attacks of October 7th led to at least 1,200 Israeli deaths and over 200 hostages taken to Gaza. Israel’s harsh and indiscriminate retaliation on Gaza has led to over 25,000 deaths – the vast majority of which were civilians, including thousands of children. The situation in Gaza has become a humanitarian catastrophe, with over 85% of residents displaced, many sheltering in overcrowded shelters and camps, and the entire population suffering from food insecurity, lack of drinking water, and lack of access to medical care. We know that the Israeli government’s plan to “eradicate Hamas” lacks a precedent for success, and will not make any of us, Jewish or Palestinian, any safer. We also know that to bring the hostages back alive, an urgent prisoner swap deal must be made. The continuation of the war and insistence on the use of force will only lead to thousands more Palestinian deaths while endangering the lives of Israeli border communities, hostages, and soldiers. The far-right government’s reckless escalation has also emboldened settler violence across the West Bank. Israeli military raids in the Occupied Territories have become increasingly frequent and fatal, with over 300 Palestinians killed since October 7th and an over 100% increase in administrative detention. Within Israel, we are witnessing an intense crackdown against Palestinian citizens, anti-occupation activists, and any anti-war sentiment. Palestinian citizens are routinely fired from their jobs and expelled from their universities for simply expressing concern for Gazan civilians. In addition, we are seeing increasing physical attacks on both Palestinian and Jewish citizens who speak out against the injustices of this war. 

 

Our message is simple: There is another way. We have seen our country launch countless wars and military operations only to end up in the same position. Israel’s policy of attempting to destroy Hamas’ military capabilities every few years has only led to Hamas getting stronger. No military operation has ever produced lasting safety and security for Israelis – let alone for Palestinians. The occupation of the West Bank and the blockade on Gaza must end - not only because it is brutal and oppressive for Palestinians - but also because it does not guarantee any long-term safety for Israelis. We know that a negotiated peace agreement is the only way to ensure freedom, equality, and safety for both peoples. As a progressive grassroots movement, we are focused on building the political will in Israeli society to reach a political solution by building a mass movement of Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel who truly believe that such a shared future is possible. We call for an urgent ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas, to bring back the hostages and save the lives of innocent people in Gaza. 

 

Standing Together’s Response to the War 

 

Solidarity Conventions

In the first couple of months of the war, we held conventions across the country bringing together hundreds of Jewish and Palestinian citizens to discuss our shared grief, the war’s impact on our society, and how to generate hope and solidarity during this dark time. These conferences rapidly grew the networks of Jewish and Palestinian citizens working towards solidarity and peace and provided people with much-needed hope and a safe space to grieve together and imagine a different future. 

 

De-escalation, solidarity, and support for victims of political persecution within Israel 

Using existing movement infrastructure, we opened 12 solidarity networks across the country, in which over 5,000 Jewish and Palestinian activists participate in a wide range of actions promoting solidarity and de-escalation. Our solidarity networks have been holding meetings to provide safe and open spaces for discourse, pooling efforts for humanitarian and mutual aid, monitoring calls for violence and discrimination, and reporting them to authorities. In addition, solidarity networks have been cleaning public spaces of racist and violent graffiti, replacing it with posters calling for solidarity and peace, running an emergency hotline to support victims of violence and political persecution, and visiting hospitals with flowers and bilingual greeting cards to support Jewish-Arab partnership in hospitals. 

 

Student Support 

Standing Together has 12 student chapters at various Israeli universities and colleges which are working to provide extra support for students affected by the war. Many Palestinian students are suffering from racism and discrimination, as well as expulsion as a result of increased political persecution. In addition, students are facing mental distress, lack of employment due to the war, and displacement around the country. We have been ensuring that our student chapters are prepared to assist students in need of help, report calls to violence and racism, and promote de-escalation and solidarity on campus. 

 

Rallies for a ceasefire and peace agreement

In December we held two rallies calling for peace and a ceasefire agreement, the first in Haifa bringing over 300 people, and the second in Tel Aviv with over 1000 attendees. In January we held a march and rally in Tel Aviv with over two thousand people - the biggest rally for a ceasefire since the outbreak of the war. The rallies demanded a ceasefire agreement to bring back the hostages and save the lives of innocent people in Gaza, a sustainable peace agreement, and promoted solidarity between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel. 

 

Standing Together in 2024 

We are continuing to push for an urgent ceasefire and hostage release deal, to save the lives of innocent people in Gaza and bring back the Israeli hostages alive. Our vision for the year ahead is to revive conversations in Israeli society around Israeli-Palestinian peace and mobilize Jews and Palestinians towards a new political horizon - one that can guarantee freedom, equality, and security for everyone in Israel/Palestine. As a democratic movement, we are holding our peace and equality national convention in February, where movement members from across the country will meet to vote for our national leadership and discuss our vision and strategy for building the political will within Israel to strive for Israeli-Palestinian peace. From there, we will be doubling down on our efforts to fight for an end to the occupation, justice, equality, and peace. 

Standing Together’s Response to the War

As the largest Jewish-Arab grassroots movement in Israel,
we are prioritizing six main initiatives:

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1.
Solidarity Conventions

We are holding conventions across the country bringing together hundreds of Jewish and Palestinian citizens to discuss our shared grief, the war’s impact on our society, and how to generate hope and solidarity during this dark time. These conferences are already rapidly growing the networks of Jewish and Palestinian citizens working towards solidarity and peace, and providing people with much-needed hope. 

2.
De-escalation and Solidarity within Israel 

Using existing movement infrastructure, we opened 12 solidarity networks across the country, in which over 5,000 Jewish and Palestinian activists take part in a wide range of actions promoting solidarity and de-escalation. Some highlights include: 

 

  1. A “Solidarity Watch” patrol, which accompanies people who are fearful of leaving their homes and serves as a public reminder of Jewish-Arab collaboration.

  2. Pooling efforts for humanitarian and mutual aid including cleaning bomb shelters and collecting food for people in need. 

  3. Physical and virtual meetings to provide safe and open conversations with trained psychologists. 

  4. Monitoring and reporting calls for violence, discrimination, and fake news in social and traditional media and reporting them to authorities. 

  5. Pressuring local police and media to intervene in cases of intercommunal violence. 

  6. Promoting positive messages and a discourse of solidarity on the ground.

  7. Training people for de-escalating potentially inflammatory conversations in shared spaces such as the workplace and at school. 

collecting food in Lod
emergency support hotline

3.
Support for victims of discrimination and political persecution

We created an emergency support hotline, where over 300 volunteers provide support in Arabic and Hebrew to people experiencing racism, discrimination, dismissal from their jobs, or expulsion from universities. The support hotline connects people with relevant mental health and legal aid resources, as well as de-escalation techniques.

4.
Student Support 

Standing Together has 9 student chapters at various Israeli Universities, which are working to provide extra support for students affected by the war. Many Palestinian students are suffering from racism and discrimination, as well as expulsion as a result of increased political persecution. In addition, students are facing mental distress, lack of employment due to the war, and displacement around the country. We are ensuring that our student chapters are prepared to assist students in need of help, report calls to violence and racism on campus, and promote de-escalation and solidarity on campus.

students in haifa

5.
Release of the hostages

Since the outbreak of the war, we have been strengthening calls for the release of the hostages on social media and news outlets, as well as joining in demonstrations for the release of the hostages. Since the truce and release of some hostages, we have been actively campaigning for an expansion of the hostage deal.

6.
Public campaigns to impact discourse

We have been engaging in public campaigns promoting solidarity, partnership, and long-term peace, as well as the importance of condemning the killing of innocent civilians in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank. We are promoting messaging aimed at re-humanizing the discourse, retaining humanity, mourning all lives lost, and rejecting violence on social media in Hebrew, Arabic, and English. 

posters in tel aviv
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