We demand immediate halt to armed attacks in Israel and Gaza

October 17, 2023
Tsuyoshi Masuda
President, Japan Federation of Democratic Medical Institutions

Exchanges of rocket attacks from Gaza and missile attacks from Israel have continued since October 7, resulting in numerous civilian casualties on both sides.

Hamas fighters, who effectively control Gaza, entered and attacked Israel, causing numerous casualties and taking Israeli citizens, foreigners, and soldiers hostage. In response to the outrageous attack, the Israeli prime minister declared a “state of war” and fired a large number of missiles into the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces also attacked medical facilities in violation of international humanitarian law, killing medical personnel.

As of 1:30 p.m. on October 15 (local time), 2,329 people have been killed and more than 9,000 injured in Gaza. The number of victims is still rising, surpassing in nine days the number of victims during the 2014 Gaza war which lasted 51 days. Israel has announced that it will attack not only by air but also by land and sea and has deployed about 360,000 fighters around Gaza.

Israel has been issuing mandatory evacuation orders from northern and central Gaza since October 13. In the north, there is a hospital with over 700 beds. Several trucks carrying evacuees to the south were bombed, killing 70 people instantly.

Since hospitals in southern Gaza are already full of the injured, the medical system is on the brink of collapse. As the United Nations warns, moving more than one million people to a place with no food, water, or accommodation is extremely dangerous and not possible. A reckless evacuation order can only lead to further loss of life.

We hold high the principles of the Japanese Constitution, which recognizes that “all peoples of the world have the right to live in peace.” Our mission statement states that we “oppose all war policies that destroy human life and health.” We strongly condemn indiscriminate attacks on civilians by both Hamas and Israel, which violate international humanitarian law, and demand an immediate cessation of armed attacks by both sides.

Japan should be able to conduct diplomacy utilizing Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution and its historical and religious neutrality with both sides. We demand that the Japanese government make every diplomatic effort to bring about a ceasefire as soon as possible.

Israel’s continued expansion of settlements and repeated attacks in violation of international law are behind this situation. We hope that the UN and other international organizations respond to this injustice in accordance with international law.