Activists within Israel’s Other Voice Movement have sent a letter to the head of the Hamas Political Bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, as well as the movement’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Al-Sinwar, asking them to restore calm to southern Israel. “We, your neighbours, hope to live based on mutual respect and peace,” they told the Hamas officials.
The message was sent to Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip who were asked to deliver it to Hamas. It was also passed to left-wing Israeli activist Gershon Beskin, who is close to Fatah and Hamas leaders and helped to mediate the release of Gilad Shalit in 2011. The Israeli soldier was captured by Hamas in 2006 while on active duty on the border between Gaza and Israel.
“We have been enemies and we are still,” said the activists, “but this situation can be changed, it must be changed, we are also neighbours.” The disaster affecting the Palestinians and Israelis is man-made, they insisted, and can be changed.
Other Voice Movement sent a similar letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanding him to negotiate with Hamas. “Hamas runs an authoritarian regime,” they pointed out. “We reject its actions, but ultimately it is the governing authority in Gaza, whether we like it or not, so we must find a way to talk to it.”