This last month has become a painful and deadly recap of decades of relentless conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, the denial of basic rights, lack of sincere political commitment, and the inconsistencies of our multilateral system. While acknowledging the complexity of the situation, it is in these critical junctures that we may, and sometimes do find the opportunity to effect profound change.
Some of us have lived long enough to have witnessed violent events that dramatically altered the course of history. This may just be one of these decisive moments.
It is our firm belief that both Palestinians and Israelis deserve to live in peace, with their shared humanity recognized and respected. We fully understand the suffering experienced by both peoples but recognize that deepening violence has only led to greater animosity, mounting casualties and further suffering.
The time has come to seek a new way, one based on the two states solution, a paradigm that offers an honest opportunity for peace. Peace, respect for international humanitarian law and the recognition of human rights are the only safeguards for all individuals in the region.
We implore both Israel and Hamas to enter into a comprehensive ceasefire immediately. This would provide a precious opportunity for citizens on both sides to embark on a journey of physical and emotional healing, addressing the deep traumas of the present and the past. We urge the international community and those with sufficient political influence to support the ceasefire and avoid an escalation that will only bring more suffering to the region and potentially the world.
We make this heartfelt plea in the spirit of humanity, compassion and the pursuit of lasting peace. We call for urgent humanitarian access and the delivery of life-saving aid, including food, medical care, supplies, fuel, electricity and internet access. Innocent civilians must be protected. All civilian hostages, without exception, must be released immediately. These demands are not optional; they are simply obligations under international humanitarian law and a requisite for dialogue.
The people of Israel and Palestine deserve leaders who can rise to the occasion and guide them toward a future of peace and prosperity. Achieving peace requires political courage, not only from the involved parties but from the entire world. It is, without a doubt, the only way forward.
We support the work of the United Nations Secretary General, UNRWA and the entire UN System, as well as of the humanitarian community for their work in these difficult circumstances.
As Club de Madrid Members, former Heads of State and Government, we stand ready to support Israelis and Palestinians in their struggle for peace and dignity, as does the rest of the world.