World YMCA calls for immediate de-escalation in the Palestinian territories and Israel

World YMCA stands in solidarity with YMCA East Jerusalem, the Palestinian and Israeli people who are victims of the recent violence caused by the Israeli authorities, condemned by the United Nations and the international community. 

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) called Israeli actions  “unwarranted, disproportionate and indiscriminate” and the World YMCA stands by that statement, condemning all violence, incitement to violence and human rights violations in Israel and the Palestinian territories. As a youth and community empowerment Movement active in 120 countries, the YMCA is a promoter of peace, security and the resolution of conflicts through diplomacy. 

The forced evictions of Sheikh Jarrah, followed by increasing violence and excessive force used by Israeli military, including against civilians, as well as the subsequent retaliation by Hamas, should not be tolerated by the international community. We call for all parties involved, especially the Israeli authorities, to de-escalate tensions, respect human rights and protect innocent civilians on both sides of the conflict. 

We further condemn the use of violence during the Holy Ramadan Month and in the context of the pandemic, considering the heightened health risks posed by Israeli actions and the deep inequality regarding vaccinations between the people of Israel and the people of Palestine. The COVID-19 vaccine should be freely and equally available to all human beings and not used as a potential military advantage. 

The peoples of Israel and Palestine both deserve peace and an environment where they can thrive. Their political leaders have a moral obligation to make that happen.