Saturday, 9 July 2016

Ten years of siege in Gaza : End the Blockade

For the last ten years the densely populated Israeli occupied Gaza strip has been  besieged  by Israel, by land, sea and air, 1.8 millions, the vast majority of whom are refugees, are effectively trapped in an area of land, just 40 kilometres long and 9.5kilometres wide.
Two years ago last week the world witnessed Israel's brutal military attack on Palestinians in Gaza in which more than 2,300 Palestinians were killed including 300 children and 100,000 people were displaced after Israel deliberately attacked entire civilian areas in Gaza and inflicted as much human suffering as it could. The explosives that were dropped on Gaza continue to claim lives.The UN and human rights organisations have documented Israel's war crimes during the massacre.  Amnesty International has denounced  the lack of accountability for crimes committed during the assault on the Gaza strip in 2014, in a new briefing  the global human rights group says the impunity enjoyed by those responsible for violations is " indefensible" 
The siege continues and has almost entirely prevented meaningful reconstruction since the 2014 attack and only a slight improvement in the humanitarian situation has occurred, the Gaza strip remains a disaster area, people are living in tents or caravans that cannot protect them from the heat in the summer, or from the very cold weather in the winter time. The longer Israel maintain its siege of the world's largest open-air prison, the more the international community adapts and accepts Israel's deliberate reduction of Gaza into an uninhabitable prison camp which the Palestinian confined within has to daily endure. The blockade has caused grinding poverty resulting in more than two-thirds of Gazan families being dependent on aid. 
Due to fuel shortages and damaged or destroyed electrical infrastructure, there are power shortages for up to 16 hours per day in most areas of Gaza. 70 percent of households in Gaza receive running water for only 6 to 8 hours once every two to four days. Over 90 percent of the water extracted from the Gaza aquifer is unsafe for human consumption, while needed filtration equipment cannot be imported to Gaza. Nearly 90 million liters of untreated or partially treated sewage is dumped into the sea off Gaza every day, while equipment needed to build new or maintain existing treatment facilities are banned from entering Gaza. As a result of the blockade the economy, education, medical care, agricultural and fishing industries have worsened, in some cases in near-collapse.
Gaza's wealth is largely unreachable as a direct result of Israel's occupation and blockade. Most agricultural land is located in places declared closed  military area ("no go" zones or has been destroyed during military attacks. Access to traditional fishing grounds is restricted by the Israeli Navy. Development of their natural gas reserves is forbidden by the Israeli government. All of this  while the movement of people into and out of Gaza is seveely restricted and both the import of goods and the export of products fom Gaza is strictly limited.
Israel though is not only oppressing Palestinians - it is also exporting its ruthless model of militarized repression to the world. As this Links that Kill fact sheet sets out, Israel is only able to do this because of the massive weapons trade and miltary coperation, including research, it maintains with countries across the world. Over the period 2009-2018, the US is providing military aid to Israel worth $30 bn. EU arms exports to Israel during 2014 alone were worth over $1bn. Money used to maintain oppression. If the world cares  about Gaza's plight, the blockade must not be allowed to continue, it amounts to collective punishment illegal  under the Fourth Geneva Convention. As the occupying power, Israel has obligations to the people  of Gaza, under international law. In the fall, world leaders are meeting to discuss next steps on Gaza. This or chance to take action to ensure Gaza is completely rebuilt and that people are treated with dignity. The blockade must end.

We must continue to support the Palestinian people's non violent struggle for freedom, justice and equality, we can do this  by supporting their call for BDS ( Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) we can make a difference, and please consider signing the two following petitions, cheers.

World leaders lift the Gaza blockade :-


Gaza:End the Siege :-

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