We, members of the Department of Psychology at Stellenbosch University, note with deep concern the ongoing massacre and continued mass displacement of the population of Gaza by the Israeli military since 7 October. We are appalled by the mass murder of innocent civilians and are dismayed that the Israeli military has targeted non-combatants in Gaza – men, women and children – in their retaliation against Hamas. While we do not condone the actions of Hamas, we believe that Israel is reacting in a way that is far out of proportion. Its military has killed several thousand civilians in Gaza and even more have been injured and disabled. Much of the infrastructure of the Gaza Strip, including hospitals, homes, and buildings housing humanitarian organisations, have been reduced to rubble. This level of destruction is brutal and barbaric. The extreme trauma of the surviving population continues to worsen as they bury their dead and fear for their lives.

As members of the Department of Psychology at Stellenbosch University, we join with countless organisations, NGOs, institutions, and governments around the world in calling for an immediate ceasefire on Gaza. We urgently call for establishing humanitarian corridors so that the injured and sick may be safely evacuated and attended to. We call for medical and health staff to be urgently admitted into Gaza along with crucial resources – water, food, energy, ambulances, field hospitals, and hospital ships. More broadly, we also call for the end to all structural and military violence in Palestine. We believe in a non-violent solution to the Palestinian struggle for human rights and self-determination. To this end, we join in the call for negotiations to ensure a just peace for the Palestinian people.

Prof. Desmond Painter
Prof. Ashraf Kagee
Dr. Rizwana Roomaney
Ms. Mariam Salie
Dr. Anthea Lesch
Prof. Ronelle Carolissen
Mr. Ryan van der Poll
Dr. Bronwyne Coetzee
Ms. Megan Snow
Prof. Elmien Lesch
Prof. Leslie Swartz
Prof. Kopano Ratele
Mr. Jimmy Lefika
Dr. Zuhayr Kafaar
Prof. Chrisma Pretorius
Ms. Sheena Naidoo