A Call for Peace

Stop the State of Israel: A Call by a Group of Academics for Peace from Turkey

The state of Israel, which has been illegally occupying the Palestinian territories for 56 years and has been besieging Gaza since 2006 in violation of international law, as also stated by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, is today committing another crime against the Palestinian people in front of the eyes of the whole world. On October 7, 2023, the “Joint Room for Palestinian Resistance Factions” consisting of a total of 12 Palestinian organisations with diverse political orientations – often reported in the media only as Hamas – crossed the Gaza border and killed more than 1400 people, most of them civilians, with air and ground attacks.

The Israeli state thereupon, using this massacre almost as an excuse or even “opportunity,” began to apply the heaviest state terror against the Palestinian people to date. In the midst of these massacres, we witnessed the constant bombing of hospitals, the complete destruction of two hospitals, the bombing of ambulance convoys and the open declaration of the Israeli state that it will not recognise any law of war. As of November 6, the death toll in Gaza is estimated to have exceeded 10,000, including thousands of children and women. [Over 25,000 killed, as reported by Al Jazeera, 21 January 2024.]

The Israeli government today uses Hamas’ recent attacks as a pretext for its massacres, but we know that the Palestinian people have been subjected to intense repression and violence by the Israeli security forces even in the absence of Hamas. The Israeli government, which has been labelled an apartheid regime by many Jewish diaspora initiatives as well as by political and civil initiatives of Israeli citizens, implies in front of the eyes of the world that it aims to wipe out the people of Gaza, estimated at 2.2 million, from the face of the earth. The land operation launched by Israel amounts to ethnic cleansing and even genocide.

We are already witnessing the voices of many Israeli academics, journalists and intellectuals who are speaking out, and who are now being targeted and witch-hunted by their own state, for questioning the official narrative of the state. We heard the voices of these brave people who are speaking out against their own state’s unjust war and massacres during the Gaza bombardment in 2014. It gives hope to see that the number of people joining this voice has increased exponentially after Israel’s massacres in Gaza today. As Academics for Peace from Turkey, we are well aware of the silencing and intimidation methods that states can use against dissenting voices, especially in extraordinary situations such as war, and therefore we stand in strong solidarity with both our Palestinian colleagues and our colleagues in Israel who speak out against the crimes of their state.

We, the undersigned Academics for Peace from Turkey, call on the international public, politicians and media to take a stand against Israel’s massacres. We also call on Turkey to cut all military, commercial and diplomatic relations with Israel until the occupation ends and peace is established. As in all conflicts in the world, a lasting peace can only be secured if the oppressed have an equal say in peace negotiations. •

This article first published on the Academics for Peace website.

Stop Genocide: A Call by a Group of Academics for Peace from Turkey

As Academics for Peace from Turkey, we organized the “Stop the State of Israel!” petition campaign on November 7, 2023. In the two months following our call, the massacres of the Israeli state in Gaza continue to elevate. We observe with utmost concern that the atrocious crimes of the Israeli security apparatus are supported by the overwhelming majority of the Israeli public and that this support is mostly shared with public opinion at large. At the same time, we know that there are parts of Israeli society that openly vocalize their disagreement about these massacres. However, it is clear that this opposition cannot / will not be able to prevent the current deaths. A similar international pressure mechanism must be operated against the state of Israel, just as it was done against the apartheid regime in South Africa.

It is with historical irony that the Republic of South Africa has filed an application with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on December 29, 2023, stating that the State of Israel has committed the crime of genocide and that immediate preventive measures should be taken. The 84-page document that constitutes the application gives a detailed breakdown of the war crimes, ethnic cleansing and genocidal acts committed.

On the other hand, it should be unacceptable for global academic community that Israel bombed Gaza’s higher education institutions, along with many other public structures such as schools, hospitals, mosques, churches, palaces of justice, municipal councils, transportation and other infrastructure as well as civilian settlements. Many academics were also targeted and murdered. Furthermore, it can clearly be inferred that people who form the backbone of the society, such as doctors, journalists, writers and poets who are trained by higher education institutions, are particularly targeted and subjected to torture, detention, abduction and murder. It should come as unthinkable for universities to turn their backs on their own graduates. While all this is happening, the silence of Western academia in particular is unacceptable.

On the other hand, genocide, also known as the crime of crimes, is the most despicable and devastating act that targets all shared values of humanity. Thus, as it is stated by many researchers, experts and historians working in the field, it is not a choice but an obligation to take into account and investigate the war crimes, ethnic cleansing and genocide allegedly committed by the State of Israel. It is our duty to remind all relevant actors of the moral and legal burden of cooperating with a state that commits genocide without waiting for the final decision of the ICJ.

For this reason, we, as Academics for Peace from Turkey, continue to strive until Israel completely withdraws from Gaza and the West Bank and until the obstacles preventing the establishment of the State of Palestine are completely removed.

Thus, we call upon the global academic community,

  • to end all cooperation with Israeli higher education institutions and Israeli academics who support the ongoing ethnic genocide, war policy and economy, and contribute to the isolation of Israel in higher education,
  • to support South Africa’s application to the International Court of Justice through professional organizations, solidarity networks and civil society channels in their countries,
  • to put pressure on the relevant state authorities to become parties to the relevant application,
  • to support any initiative to take into account and investigate allegations of war crimes, ethnic cleansing and genocide committed by Israel.

Thereupon we appeal to the State of the Republic of Turkey,

  • to support South Africa’s application and become a party to the relevant application to the International Court of Justice,
  • to examine commercial activities with Israel and immediately stop those that directly assist Israel in committing the crime of genocide (this should be done considering the genocide allegations and taking into account the moral and legal sanctions that may arise in the future),
  • to cut military, commercial and diplomatic relations with Israel. •

This article first published on the Academics for Peace website.