We join with the Secretary General of the United Nations and others who have called for a de-escalation of the violence involving Israel and Hamas in Gaza and southern Israel. The combination of attacks on Israeli patrols, the launching of rockets against Israeli communities, and the violent response of the Israeli Defense Force all have contributed to a dangerous escalation of violence which is counterproductive for all parties.

Our General Assembly and our leaders have often and unequivocally condemned the launching of rockets from Gaza against Israeli citizens in the surrounding areas. There can be no justification for the terror and injury that these attacks have produced; and every such act has produced counter violence on the part of Israel, often resulting in greater loss of life. The reverse is also true. On occasion, the Israelis have initiated attacks on Gaza producing similar terror and injury, and resulting in rockets being fired by Palestinians in retaliation.

Our General Assemblies have called over and over again for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, with its daily humiliation of Palestinian citizens and continual encroachment on Palestinian territory. It should be clear to anyone with eyes to see, that the occupation, with its oppression of the Palestinian population, is a form of systemic violence which remains a barrier to peace which must be removed.

Retaliation always bears bitter fruit, and pushes the hope for peace farther away from fruition. We urge all parties to cease this cycle of violence and sit down together in the cause of peace, not revenge.