Rogue One and Nightcrawler star Ahmed calls the actions of Hamas and the subsequent loss of life in Gaza “horrific and wrong”, before calling for an end to the “indiscriminate bombing of Gaza’s civilians and vital infrastructure, the denial of food, water and electricity, [and] the forced displacement of people from their homes”.
“These are morally indefensible war crimes,” the actor claims.
Hamas’ terror attack last weekend left 1300 Israelis dead and close to 200 kidnapped. In response, Israel launched a bombing campaign against Hamas in Gaza, which has left more than 2,670 Palestinians dead and 9,600 wounded, according to the The Gaza Health Ministry.
Israel has ordered the evacuation of more than one million Palestinians from northern Gaza as it prepares a potential ground offensive, drawing criticism from international organizations due to the unfolding humanitarian crisis.
New York-based Human Rights Watch has cited both Hamas and the Israeli government as culpable of potential war crimes. “Deliberate killing of civilians, hostage-taking, and collective punishment are heinous crimes that have no justification,” said Omar Shakir, the group’s Israel and Palestine director. Israel has said that it is acting within the confines of international law.
Read an except from Riz Ahmed’s statement below:
“We are told there are two sides to what is happening in Israel and Palestine. But in my heart, I know there is only one — the side of our humanity. What happened in Israel last week was horrific and wrong. The pain and fear so many are feeling is deep and real. What’s happening in Gaza now, and has been happening in Palestine under the Occupation for decades, is horrific and wrong. The depth and reality of this suffering cannot be ignored.
“If we look only in one direction, we will go even deeper into darkness. But that is exactly what is happening right now. We are being asked to look away while the civilians of Gaza, half of them children, are running out of time. If we are on the side of humanity we must urgently speak up to try and avert the loss of innocent life. This means calling for an end to the indiscriminate bombing of Gaza’s civilians and vital infrastructure, the denial of food, water and electricity, the forced displacement of people from their homes. These are morally indefensible war crimes.”
“We need to put ourselves in the shoes of the people of Gaza, now, before we all walk past the point of no return. If like me you have been grappling to find the right words, there are none. No words can encompass the pain, heal the rifts or do justice to all these injustices. Whatever you say will be too much for some and not enough for others. But what matters it that we speak up. Staying silent is not an option.”