Statement on Israel-Hamas War - Commonwealth Club World Affairs of California
Skip to main content

Statement on Israel-Hamas War

October 18, 2023

World Affairs condemns Hamas’ recent assaults on Israel in the strongest possible terms. The deaths of thousands of innocent Israelis and Palestinians, as well as citizens of other countries, since the attacks are tragic. Many more Palestinian civilians inside Gaza continue to face grave danger and must be protected. 

We acknowledge that we are not experts. However, we firmly believe that continued violence, death and war will not resolve this conflict; rather, it will only perpetuate the cycle of suffering and make peace more intractable. True progress can only be achieved through dialogue, understanding, and a commitment to a just and lasting peace that respects the rights and aspirations of all parties involved. The entire Middle East—its governments and its peoples—must recognize Israel’s right to exist, affirm Palestinians’ right to self-determination, condemn bigotry in all its forms, and preserve universal human rights. 

Our organization was founded following the historic conference that established the United Nations—after the devastation of World War II—in order to maintain international peace and security, give humanitarian assistance to those in need, protect human rights, and uphold international law. We believe it is the obligation of the international community to forcefully condemn terrorism and tirelessly advocate to avoid humanitarian catastrophe. 

We echo the October 13 statement of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres that “Even wars have rules. International humanitarian law and human rights law must be respected and upheld; civilians must be protected and also never used as shields. And all hostages in Gaza must be released immediately.” The dignity and humanity of all life—in Gaza and elsewhere—must not be forgotten.

The Arab-Israeli conflict is a long-standing source of sorrow and suffering for Arabs and Jews alike, marked by deeply-rooted historical, political and social tensions. World Affairs urges all parties involved to commit to a diplomatic resolution, to prevent the further loss of innocent lives, and to ensure stability, security and equal human rights to all people in the region. 

For further insight and context, the resources below may be helpful:

UN News: Middle East
The Frontlines of Peace (2021)
Partnering for a Peaceful Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (2017)

World Affairs Council of Northern California