EASA Executive Statement on the situation in Gaza

The executive committee of the European Association of Social Anthropologists extends its solidarity to those mourning the loss of their loved ones in both Palestine and Israel.

We strongly condemn the violence perpetrated by the Israeli state against the civilians of Gaza. This concerns all the forms of violence inflicted upon Palestinians: air strikes claiming indiscriminately the lives of a population half of which are children; the massive destruction of livelihoods and infrastructure - including hospitals, schools, mosques, churches, and the Islamic University of Gaza; the starving of the population by cutting its access to water, electricity, fuel, food, medical supplies, and humanitarian aid.

As anthropologists with expertise on state violence, human rights, peace, conflict and security, we warn against decontextualised narratives of conflict and ‘terrorism’. The genocidal framing of Palestinians as culprits, as ‘human animals’, and as deserving of collective punishment has already incited murderous hatred against Muslims and Arabs in other parts of the world, and is likely to further subject Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank to settler violence, adding to the state violence they are already victims of.

As anthropologists based in Europe, we also strongly condemn the support of the EU and of European governments to acts amounting to war crimes under international law. We urge governments to respect international law provisions that protect civilians and to understand that their actions and words bear heavy consequences likely to spill over in generalised violence against Arabs, Muslims, Palestinians, and those who support their plight - including the many dissenting voices in Israel and elsewhere.

We are deeply concerned about the repressive measures taken in some universities, in Europe and elsewhere, against those who expressed their solidarity with Palestinians and were suspended or harassed. This totalitarian silencing of dissent in the face of violence and war is unacceptable and in full dissonance with the goal of higher education to foster critical thinking among students and the public. We also condemn the violent repression of peaceful protests in Europe and elsewhere.

We heed the call of our colleagues from Birzeit University to speak up against genocidal violence, occupation, and the flagrant violation of human rights in Gaza and the Palestinian Occupied Territories, and call for the academic community to fulfil its mission of critique towards oppressive structures, of warning against the rippling effects of violence and occupation, and of speaking truth to power.

We call for an immediate ceasefire and immediate humanitarian relief for the people of Gaza, and a commitment from Israel and all governments to a peace process that deals with the historic inequalities, injustice and structural violence in the region.

Ana Ivasiuc, President EASA
On behalf of EASA's Executive Committee