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“Either Rafah or a ceasefire”

We republish below the latest report from Uri Weltmann, National Field Organiser of Standing Together, circulated to international supporters.

Dear friends,

The holiday of Passover comes to a close, and the atmosphere in Israel is tense. The question on the table in front of Israeli society, is which way forward from here: either to a military excursion into Rafah –  at the southern part of the Gaza Strip, where many Palestinians found refuge after forced to evacuate and their homes were demolished – or to change course, for a cease-fire agreement that will include the release of the hostages.

Indeed, this was the headline in the front page of the prominent daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth on Friday: “The Dilemma: Between a Hostages Deal and Entering Rafah”:

Yesterday (27 April), after Hamas released another video of two Israeli hostages, their families released a statement: “Israel must choose – either a deal or Rafah”. This question now confronts the Israeli political system with all its weight.

A public opinion poll published today, conducted by Agam Polling, showed that 58% among Jewish respondents said they prefer a hostages deal over a military invasion into Rafah. This means that a solid majority among Israeli citizens, Jews and Arabs alike, stands behinds this position:

The public pressure from below against the government is mounting, as tens of thousands of Israelis take to the streets protesting against the government. We as Standing Together marched on Saturday (27 April), intervening in the mass anti-government protests in major cities in Israel, adding our voice to those who demand a hostages exchange deal, and saying that what is needed is to end the war, bring back the hostages, stop the killing of innocents in Gaza, and allow humanitarian aid to deal with the starvation and lack of basic medical supplies in the besieged Gaza Strip.

In the long term, what is needed to bring safety and security to all, is not occupation but an Israeli-Palestinian peace, that will recognize the rights of both peoples to independence, justice and freedom:

“THE IDF OCCUPIED, WE SETTLE”: This is the name of a demonstration organized by extreme right-wing settlers, in which they announced their intention to march towards the Gaza Strip and advocate forming new settlements there.

We organized a march, together with a coalition of several other peace organizations (Women Wage Peace, Breaking the Silence, etc.), saying the forming of new settlements in the Gaza Strip is a messianic lunacy, and that what is needed is to end the war.

An important partner in the coalition we built is the local group “Another Voice”, composed of residents from the town of Sderot and from the Kibbutzim next to the Gaza border. Members of this peace group – some of whom suffered personal losses on October 7th, and almost of them forced to relocate for months afterwards – added their important voice, as people with skin in the game, to the demand for an alternative path to that of our government.

We marched outside of Sderot, close to the Gaza border:

Watch Alon-Lee Green, Standing Together’s National Co-Director, intreviewed by Sky News, about Rafah, Iran and the war:

Alon-Lee was also interviewed by Teen Vogue magazine (YES!):


An important point to raise – while all eyes are on Gaza, we should note that the West Bank is also burning. Violent settlers, with the backing of the army, run amok, attacking Palestinian villagers, setting fire to homes, and even take people’s lives:


A few days ago, Standing Together organized an English language webinar for supporters and friends abroad. You can watch the recording here: