20 May 2004
The Socialist International condemns the brutal offensive being carried out by Israeli forces in the town of Rafah in the Gaza Strip and the killing of at least eight Palestinians, including four children, during a demonstration against the home demolitions that the International also denounces.
Our organisation has consistently protested against Israel's violent incursions into Gaza, which are counter to international law, reinforce the cycle of violence and play into the hands of extreme elements on all sides.
The International demands that the government of Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon immediately halt the offensive in Gaza, particularly the destruction of homes and property and the use of helicopters and tanks against civilians.
The International further calls upon the Israelis and Palestinians to return to the negotiating table, because the roadmap remains the only viable initiative for achieving a peaceful and lasting resolution to the conflict and an end to the unacceptable taking of innocent lives, and urges the international community to make every possible effort to steer the two sides away from further violence.