SAA Statement on Israel-Hamas War

March 22, 2024—The Society of American Archivists mourns the thousands of lives lost and condemns the damage to and destruction of cultural heritage institutions, such as historic sites, museums, libraries, and archives, as the result of the conflict currently ongoing in Israel and Gaza. Recent media reports suggest over 100 cultural heritage sites have been damaged or destroyed in air assaults, resulting in the destruction of irreplaceable tangible and intangible heritage, including archival records documenting the histories of Palestine and the Palestinian people. The damage and destruction of memory-building institutions, such as the Central Archives of Gaza City, along with other civic centers, theaters, and libraries are an irrevocable loss.

While geography limits the Society’s ability to directly assist those affected by the current conflict, SAA, together with the International Council on Archives, urges Israel and the Hamas-led militant groups to respect the 1954 Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict

Echoing the statement of the United Nationʻs Secretary-General António Guterres, that “hostilities in Gaza and Israel have created appalling human suffering, physical destruction and collective trauma across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” we encourage the support of international aid organizations to address these conditions and hope for a swift and permanent end to these hostilities.