B’Tselem: Everyone has the right to life
A letter from the Executive Director of B’Tselem
[B’Tselem is a Global Ministries partner.]
The past few weeks have been appalling for all who cherish human life. The simple words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – everyone has the right to life – embody a fundamental moral principle that is being repeatedly violated these days.
At present, B’Tselem staff is concentrating on documenting the situation, analyzing it – and issuing unequivocal public statements according to the information we have gathered. As missiles “knock on the roof”, little room is left among the Israeli public to allow for criticism of government policy. Yet the missiles don’t merely “knock” on the roofs; they bring death and destruction. This means that now, more than ever, is the time for us to document, analyze and voice dissent. The room still left in Israeli public discourse for reporting the truth about current reality in Gaza is largely through the efforts of the human rights community here, B’Tselem amongst it.
Our two field researchers in the Gaza Strip are courageously continuing to collect testimonies, despite the difficult circumstances and their own concern over loved ones. Several of our field researchers in the West Bank are helping from afar by collecting testimonies from Gaza over the phone. The staff in our Jerusalem office is working day and night to process the incoming information, analyze it, and produce effective material to be circulated to the public. On social media and in TV interviews, we repeat the information we have gathered and the positions we have formulated in their wake: Civilians – from both sides – must be kept out of the hostilities; for people who live in southern Israel, close to Gaza and beyond, personal safety and normal routine have become empty words; in Gaza, the dreadful number of fatalities is rising, most of them uninvolved civilians; firsthand accounts of particular attacks are bloodcurdling. We are unequivocally opposed to the illegal attacks on homes of the families of operatives in Palestinian armed organizations, since euphemisms like “surgical strikes” on “operational infrastructure” cannot mask the facts: dozens of homes have been unlawfully attacked in what in fact are punitive home demolition in the form of air strikes – that come at a terrible cost to human life.