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End the Siege on Gaza End the Siege on Gaza
by The Ovi Team
2007-12-15 09:58:33
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We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, support and uphold the call of a coalition of organizations and individuals in Gaza for an international campaign to end the siege on Gaza. We call on members of Israeli society to join the campaign.

Since June 2007, Israeli isolation policies towards the Gaza Strip have escalated. While controlling all points of exit from the Gaza Strip, the government of Israel has increasingly restricted passage of people and goods to and from the Gaza Strip, leading to severe hardship and a drastic curtailing of the basic sources of sustenance and health of the population of the Gaza Strip.

All but 12 basic commodities have been blocked entry to the Gaza Strip, causing shortages in water, fuel, medications, essential equipment, raw materials and thousands of other essential commodities. In November alone, 13 patients died after Israeli authorities denied them access to medical care that is unavailable in Gaza.

Both Palestinians and Israelis have a right to live in peace and security, but the Israeli government policy of collective punishment is pushing the entire region further from security, and is morally and legally unjustifiable.

No progress can be achieved in any peace process while Gaza, still an occupied territory, is excluded from discussion and its civilian population punished. The lifting of the siege is therefore at the heart of Israeli, Palestinian and regional interests.

In November 2007, a group of Palestinian non-partisan human rights organizations and civil society leaders launched a call for a joint Palestinian-International-Israeli campaign to end the siege on Gaza.

The aims of the campaign are to call upon the Israeli government to lift the siege and stop other collective measures imposed on the civilian population of Gaza, to raise the awareness of the Israeli public and the international community to the deteriorating living conditions resulting from the siege, and to mobilize governments and communities to stop the boycott of Gaza.

The End the Siege campaign is humanitarian, non-partisan and based on the tenets of human rights and social justice. It is guided by the wish to end all forms of violence in our region.

On the Palestinian side, End the Siege is initiated and managed by “representatives of civil society, the business community, intellectuals, women activists, and advocates for human rights and peace from both the West Bank and Gaza, all expressing their commitment to peace and their respect for human dignity”. On the Israeli side, End the Siege supporters include human rights organizations and other actors in civil society. The call is open to all who wish to join it.

From the call: “We are determined to move hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder with all people who believe in freedom, human dignity and peace…. It is time to put aside any partisan conflicts and unite people in the pursuit of freedom, justice, and peace.”

Planned activities include:

- Documentation and dissemination of information on the impact of the siege: a website, posters and video clips of daily life in Gaza.

- International symposium in Gaza: “Breaking the Siege on Gaza: Together for a United Front for Peace”.

- International delegations to Gaza and Israel.

- Meetings and cultural activities in Gaza, Tel Aviv, Ramallah, and different cities in the world.

- A peaceful march to Erez Crossing from both the Israeli and Palestinian sides of the Crossing with peace activists from all over the world.

- A “Free Gaza Movement Day” in May, including a boat journey from Cyprus to Gaza.

For details or to join the campaign, contact: mail@phr.org.il

Signed:

Adalah
Anarchists Against the Wall
Bat Shalom
Bat Tsafon
Coalition of Women for Peace
Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement
Gush Shalom
Hamoked Centre for the Defense of the Individual
Hithabrut-Tarabut
New Profile
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel
Shomrei Mishpat - Rabbis for Human Rights
Ta’ayush – Arab-Jewish Partnership
The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
The Israeli Committee for the Palestinian Prisoners and Detainees
The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel


    
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Emanuel Paparella2007-12-15 13:23:28
Israel’s journalist Gideon Levy wrote this in this week’s Haaretz: "It is not legitimate to cut off 750,000 people from electricity. It is not legitimate to call on 20,000 people to run from their homes and turn their towns into ghost towns. It is not legitimate to kidnap half a government and a quarter of a parliament. A state that takes such steps is no longer distinguishable from a terror organization."

Now,compare that statement with what Tony Blair mustered on the crisis in an appearance before MPs: “I have learned enough about this situation over the years to realize that going in and condemning either side is not deeply helpful.”

Sounds like fence-sitting from the ambassador at large in charge of the mid-East crisis. I guess he has cakes and Christmas cookies to bake.

And so when one is confronted by the political authoritarian fanatics who shake their finger in your face and say: “you Europeans” or “you Israelis” the reply has to be: “Which Europeans?” or “Which Israelis?”


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