Three questions for Jasper van Dijk about Palestine and Israel

9 October 2023

Three questions for Jasper van Dijk about Palestine and Israel

Foto: SP

More than a thousand people, most of them ordinary civilians, have been killed in Israel and Palestine over the past few days. This spiral of violence must be broken as soon as possible and efforts made to find a diplomatic, political solution. A conversation with SP parliamentarian Jasper van Dijk.

How do you view the events of the past few days?

“It is horrific. So much grief and misery. All that violence and by far the most victims are innocent civilians The rapid escalation worries me deeply. The bloody attack by Hamas on the civilian population of Israel is an act of terror. The images chill you to the bone. Nothing short of harsh condemnation is appropriate here.”

Israel was taken by surprise, but is now acting quickly. What do you expect will happen?

“My worst fear is that the spiral of violence will not be broken, but that the extremist acts of terror by Hamas will lead to even more extremism and violence, and that more innocent civilians will become victims of a terrible war. Right now, so many Palestinian civilians are being killed by Israeli bombing, and if a ground war ensues, that’s going to lead to even more innocent people getting killed.”

What should be done now?

“As long as violence is met with violence, peace will never be achieved, innocent people will still become victims, and a more deeply entrenched breeding ground for extremism and terror will be created in other places in the world, jeopardizing the safety of even more people.”

“In the short term, every effort must be made to prevent further civilian casualties and everything must be geared towards de-escalation and breaking the cycle of violence. The parties therefore also must stop inciting more violence. A ceasefire must be reached as soon as possible, and all diplomatic means have to be used to achieve it.”

“In the longer term, efforts need to be focussed on a political solution, and the root causes and context behind the escalation of the violence of the past few days needs to examined. The permanent blockade of Gaza and the illegal occupation of the West Bank form a breeding ground for fundamentalist and extremist groups. Millions of people live in deep misery there and are unable to offer their children a future. There must be the prospect that the situation of the Palestinians will improve by respecting human rights and international law and by calling on Israel to end the illegal occupation, the blockade and the injustice. Also, efforts must be geared towards a two-state solution, as proposed by the United Nations, in which the security and rights of both the Israeli and Palestinian people are guaranteed. Only then can peace perhaps be brought a little closer.”

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