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Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza Created by Israel Backed by the U.S.
Gaza today: caged-in
One and a half million human beings live in Gaza — an integral part of Palestine. They are suffering extreme hardship — their economy has collapsed due to the Israeli blockade, which has severely limited imports and prevented all exports since June 2007. A narrow strip of land, Gaza is besieged on all sides by land, sea, and air — with sophisticated barbed-wire fences, concrete walls and military lookout towers, and Israeli navy ships.
Movement of people is blocked
No one can enter or leave Gaza without the approval of the Israeli authorities. The seven border gates--which provide the only access with the rest of the world — are sealed off. One of the seven crossings, Karni, was the main route for commerce to and from Gaza.
Even Palestinians with a critical need to leave Gaza are blocked:
The results of the closures: World Bank reports (9/07)
Purpose of the closures
The Israeli siege of Gaza, supported by the US and European Union sanctions and with the blessing of the Abbas leadership of the Palestinian Authority, is calculated to make the people suffer in order to put pressure on the Hamas government, which was democratically elected in 2006 and has not been allowed to govern. The siege and sanctions began immediately after the elections and tightened after Hamas deposed its rivals and established itself in Gaza.
Cuts to fuel supplies
Israel has begun to cut fuel and other supplies to Gaza, including diesel fuel, which is used to power generators that are required to pump drinking water, to flush sewage, and to provide power to hospitals. In addition to increasing the misery of the population, this is widely regarded as a step toward military action against Gaza.
Israel's blockade targets civilians
Israel is a signatory to the Geneva Convention, which states that it is responsible for the well-being of the people it occupies. Although Israel points to its unilateral withdrawal from Gaza (in Sept. 2005) it continues effectively as an occupying force by virtue of its total control over Gaza's borders, airspace, and resources. Hamas's firing of rockets at Israel is wrong, but Israel's use of collective punishment in retaliation for these attacks is totally disproportionate, and is knowingly targeted at civilians. It is therefore illegal, according to Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
We must not keep silent
Americans have a particular responsibility to raise their voices and ensure that information about the crisis in Gaza reaches American citizens. Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. aid. U.S. tax dollars fund the Occupation and help pay for the strangulation of Gaza. And New Yorkers have even more interest in condemning "collective punishment" of civilian populations — we have twice been the victim of such actions. Just as al-Qaeda justified its attacks on civilians at the World Trade Center on 9/11 by the many U.S. outrages in the Middle East, Israel justifies its blockade and bombardments of Gaza civilians by the homemade rocket attacks coming from Gaza. Both are wrong.
Brooklyn For Peace urges:
TAKE ACTION NOW:
Call State Dept Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs 202-647-7209, and your Cong. Rep. Demand an immediate end to the assault on Gaza, and the opening of its border crossings to people and goods.
Make a contribution to the January 26 Relief Convoy to Gaza. Tax-deductible checks (put Gaza Relief Convoy in the memo line) can be made out to the Eschaton Foundation and mailed to 515 Broadway, Santa Cruz, California 95060, or donate on-line at http://rcnv.org/donate.
For more information, and other actions you can take, contact: Israel-Palestine Committee, Brooklyn For Peace (formerly Brooklyn Parents for Peace). firstname.lastname@example.org or call 718–624–5921.