By Cole Harrison

Massachusetts Peace Action is saddened by the loss of life on both sides of the Israel-Palestine conflict. We condemn the use of violence against Israeli and Palestinian civilians.  The escalating violence we are seeing today is unfortunate, but unsurprising. What is needed now is an immediate ceasefire and de-escalation.

We reject the framing of this event as “unprovoked”.  Two million Palestinians in Gaza have been under a brutal Israeli siege since 2007 and periodically attacked by overwhelming Israeli military assaults. Most of them are refugees from villages ethnically cleansed by Israel since 1948. Unarmed protests along the barrier that encloses Gaza have been met with Israeli gunfire that killed hundreds and severely wounded thousands.

Meanwhile, the new Israeli government has rapidly expanded illegal settlements, turned a blind eye to settler violence, bulldozed houses and forced the expulsion of many more Palestinians from their homes.

Palestinian resistance should surprise no one. The US must end its funding of the occupation, $3.8 billion a year in military aid, and pressure Israel to comply with international law that demands humanitarian rights for Palestinians, an end to the Israeli occupation and self-determination for the millions living under Israeli occupation.

Israelis and Palestinians are both paying the price in blood for an illegal Israeli policy that has been sustained by the tax dollars of US citizens and the unconditional supply of US arms to the Israeli military.   Current US policy sustains violence in Israel-Palestine.  A just peace requires a fundamental change in that US policy.