Why did we decide to relaunch our JCall appeal ?


During the last five months—and even more—time has stopped all over the world for Israelis and Jewish citizens committed to Israel’s existence. The clock hand stopped at 7 a.m. on October 7, 2023, time of the attack of Hamas on that dark Saturday, on the Jewish holiday of Simhat Torah. Since that day, the Israeli population is in a state of amazement, listening to the testimonies of the survivors of the massacre—or rescuers, whose often heroic actions are told on TV screens. To these accounts are added those of the families of the 134 hostages still held by Hamas, among which dozens have already died. Talking about their loved ones is for these families a symbolical way of keeping them alive and it helps them to press for their releaseToday, the whole country is taken hostage, which makes it impossible to start the collective mourning period that could allow it to resume the course of time.

But while the Israeli population remains stuck on this fateful date, the clock of time keeps turning for the rest of the world. And after the scenes of rape and abominations committed on October 7 by Hamas militiamen,  filmed and broadcast in real time by them on social networks, followed those of the destruction in Gaza after the Israeli bombings that caused deaths among the civilian population.                                                                                                                            None of the campaigns of information and explanation Israel launched in the world with, in particular, the strong participation of hostages’families, don’t make weight in the war of images.                                                     

Yahwa Sinouar, leader of the Hamas, knew very well, when he organized the 7 October attack—while taking civilians hostage—that he would thus hold a means of pressure on Israeli society and provoke an Israeli reaction commensurate with this trauma. He did not care about  the number of Palestinian victims and the destruction that war would cause among the Gazan population. What mattered to him, and to other Hamas leaders, was that Israel would be held responsible for this situation on the international scene and condemned in Western public opinion. Canada’s recent decision not to sell arms to Israel, which follows Italy’s, is one of the first consequences of the deterioration of Israel’s position in the world. Although each of these countries supplies less than 1% of the weapons purchased by Israel, these  warning signs should push Israeli leaders to engage in another policy.

At the military level, the Israeli population supports its army and accredits, in its majority, the war objectives that the government continues to assert, namely the eradication of Hamas’ military capabilities and the release of the hostages. But a dissensus is beginning to emerge on the army’s ability to achieve these goals.  Every Saturday, demonstrations mobilize thousands of people. To the slogan calling for the “NOW release of the hostages” (slogan chanted by the demonstrators), whatever the price to pay, is added more and more the call for elections.

While the army spokesman continues every evening to present the successes achieved, giving the number of Hamas operatives (including important leaders) killed or taken prisoners, strong international pressure, especially coming from Washington and Cairo, is exercised on Netanyahu to prevent him from ordering the triggering of the takeovers in Rafah, the last city not to have been occupied by the IDF, and where are gathered nearly 1.5 million refugees. There is a military logic for Israel to enter Rafah and destroy the last tunnels, including those that cross the border into Egypt and allow the supply of weapons to Hamas and the continuation of all trafficking. But the consequences of this intervention  might cost Israel’s little support abroad. This is why it can only embark on such an operation with the consent of Americans and Egyptians, who will be in charge of controlling the crossings on their side of the border and of setting up a common plan in order to deal the situation in Gaza after the war.

Isn’t it time for Israel to change software and understand, as many former high-ranking officers have long claimed, that the only way to defeat Hamas is to give a political perspective to the Palestinians who could come out of a negotiation process to get their State?

That is why we must be able to overcome the trauma and think about the day after this war, because it will stop at some point. All wars end, either because one side admits defeat, or because both sides, exhausted and recognizing that they cannot achieve their war goals decide to give up—or because one or the other of the protagonists, or even both, agree, under international pressure, to a ceasefire. In the light of the humanitarian situation in Gaza, it seems that this last scenario is the most likely. But so far, neither side reached such a conclusion.

This is precisely why we must take advantage of this latency to restore all its place to the reason that led us to launch JCall 14 years ago. The analysis that we were doing at the time has not changed, but the situation has worsened. That is why today we renew our appeal and reaffirm our conviction that only the two-state solution can put an end to this conflict if courageous leaders, on both sides, are making the decision. To achieve this, we shall have to create a new dynamic in the diaspora and in Israel, and to bring together the countries whose influence counts in the region to accompany it. That is why we invite you to sign and have signed this new Call to reason.


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