Naama Maroudas-Sklare

Call for International Responsibility in Gaza

Image by: Yossipik, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

On the 7th of October 2023, Hamas terrorists infiltrated the Israeli border and murdered more than 1,200 people, most of them civilians. Whole families were wiped out, ruthlessly slaughtered in their own homes. No less than 242 people were brutally kidnapped and dragged into the Gaza strip, including women, children and even babies.

The aftermath and ensuing war have left a horrible and unbearable mark on innocent people both in Gaza and in Israel. The civilian death toll in Gaza is absolutely appalling. No doubt there are yet more tragic events we will have to witness before the war is over. But when it finally is, as citizens of the world and as people with Jewish heritage, we will be left asking ourselves, what now? How do we ensure that the brutal cycle of violence is put to a stop and that both the Gazan and Israeli peoples can live in safety and dignity?

There is no easy solution, but one thing is crystal clear to me- international responsibility for Gaza is crucial if we ever hope to have peace.

In the weeks since the atrocities of the 7th of October, I have spent a lot of time thinking how we could get through this – personally and as a nation. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I know I must try to make a difference.

As a result, I have formed a petition, demanding world leaders to finally take responsibility for the Gazan people, as a key first step on the road to lasting change in the region.

This is the open letter I wrote:

“Dear world leaders,

We must ensure that on the day after the horrific war in Gaza and Israel, the endless cycle of violence is finally broken. As people with Jewish background from around the world, we call upon you to form an international body to govern Gaza, focused on education, healthcare, civilian infrastructure, and free trade. The goal should be creating the environment where the Gazan people can eventually form an independent, free, and democratic state of their own. They deserve to live their lives unchained from the shackles of rule by terror and brutal intimidation of Hamas and liberated from the threat of retaliatory strikes by the Israeli military.

Israel cannot and should not take responsibility for Gaza any longer. The situation is absurd: One nation is expected to rebuild the very territory from which such devastating loss and unspeakable terrors erupted? 

Nations from both the West and East have an interest in putting an end to this crazy status quo and are more than capable of providing the necessary resources.

If we don’t change the circumstances, how can we change the reality? World leaders from the USA, Germany, Britain, France, and others have already shown that they are invested in how this war plays out – but what about the day after? There must be a commitment to a concrete plan for lasting change before this war is over.”

When enough of us have signed, we will personally deliver this petition to the head of the United Nations and heads of state around the world. I firmly believe that when people around the world come together, we have the power to enact true change  and change is thoroughly overdue in how the world treats the conflict in the middle east.

Here’s the link to sign and share:

Why should you listen to me?

I have my own personal story, intertwined with this war. It is no more or less shocking, or special, than anyone else’s, but it happens to be mine.

My name is Naama, and I live in Jerusalem. On the morning of October 7th, I kept hoping and thinking  surely it was all a nightmare. Surely, we would wake up from this terror and none of it would be true.

But before too long, personal events took center stage – I was in my ninth month of pregnancy and had symptoms of pre-eclampsia. After 24 hours of a heart and body wrenching attempt to give birth naturally, I underwent an emergency c-section. I was shattered by this outcome, both emotionally and physically, but when my husband finally placed our son in my arms, suddenly everything was all right in the world. Nothing else mattered except the miracle of our child.

My c-section, which was so traumatizing to me and my husband, was actually an amazing gift  it had most probably saved my life and the life of my son.

This was the wonder of modern medicine. How on earth could this be the same world where people in Khan Younis, no more than 100 km from the hospital in Jerusalem where I gave birth, are forced to drink seawater because Hamas has never seen to the safety and wellbeing of its own people?

Not only have Hamas not provided food, water, and electricity for the people of Gaza, but the shocking truth is that the number of bomb shelters Hamas has built for civilians in Gaza is a grand total of zero. The same Hamas that has built an elaborate underground system of reinforced tunnels and shelters, well stocked with food, water and fuel for their army of terrorists, has offered no protection for its civilians.

A week or so after the birth, I saw an image of the “Empty Shabbat Table” at the Tel Aviv Museum- a table laid out for the festive Shabbat dinner, with one chair for every man, woman and child still held hostage by Hamas, all achingly empty. The table just went on and on, and the enormity of the humanitarian catastrophe that had occurred hit me with full force. Hamas has been testing the limits of what the international community will allow it to do. As it turns out, judging by the silence of human rights groups on the atrocities committed by Hamas, the world will stay silent and even support the barbaric murder of civilians, mutilation of bodies, rape of women and girls and indiscriminate kidnapping of children.

Hamas has received billions of dollars in aid meant for the people of Gaza. But instead of building schools and shelters, they turned hospitals into terror headquarters and kindergartens into rocket launch pads. Since taking power in a violent and bloody coup, Hamas has been hellbent on turning Gaza into a fanatical and totalitarian mob-run state. Instead of freedom and liberty, there is fear and terror in the streets. The targets of Hamas are clear  kill as many Jews as possible, and sacrifice as many innocent Palestinian lives as needed in order to do so.

In a so-called enlightened world, we simply cannot allow this situation to continue.

I trust in the worldwide community of concerned and human-loving citizens, be they Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Druze, or any other denomination. We are all human beings, capable of love and compassion, even in the darkest of times. Let’s make sure we take this opportunity to make the world a better place.

Here’s the link to sign and share:

About the Author
Naama is a PhD student at HUJI, Jerusalem. Her experiences with one-on-one dialogues with people across the political and socio-economic board lead her to believe that there must be a way forward for lasting peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
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