Read the story, from Charlotte Wagner in San Francisco. Here.
We are writing this letter as profound and passionate supporters of Israel. We look upon the increasing loss of life on both sides of the Gaza conflict with horror. We have no doubt that rocket attacks into southern Israel, by Hamas and other militant Palestinian groups, are war crimes against Israel. No sovereign state should, or would, tolerate continued attacks and the deliberate targeting of civilians.
Israel had a right to respond and we support the Israeli government’s decision to make stopping the rocket attacks an urgent priority.
However, we believe that only negotiations can secure long-term security for Israel and the region.
We are concerned that rather than bringing security to Israel, a continued military offensive could strengthen extremists, destabilise the region and exacerbate tensions inside Israel with its one million Arab citizens. The offensive and the mounting civilian victims – like the Lebanon war in 2006 – also threaten to undermine international support for Israel.
We stand alongside the people of Israel and urge the government of Israel and the Palestinian people, with the assistance of the international community, to negotiate:
• An immediate and permanent ceasefire entailing an end to all rocket attacks and the complete and permanent lifting of the blockade of Gaza.
• International monitoring of the ceasefire agreement, including measures to ensure the security of the borders between Israel and Gaza as well as the prevention of weapons smuggling into Gaza.
It is our desire to see a durable solution for ordinary people and our view that an immediate ceasefire is not only a humanitarian necessity but also a strategic priority for the future security of Israelis, Palestinians and people of the region.
Rabbi Dr Tony Bayfield
Sir Jeremy Beecham
Professor David Cesarani
Professor Shalom Lappin
Baroness Julia Neuberger
Rabbi Danny Rich
Rabbi Professor Marc Saperstein
Rabbi Dr Michael Shire
Sir Sigmund Sternberg