An open letter on the crisis facing the people of Gaza
The world knows Gaza is in crisis. No clean water, only 3-4 hours electricity a day and not enough medicine.
Nearly 2 million people live besieged in conditions the UN describes as a human dignity crisis. But this is not a natural disaster — it is a political choice to punish the Palestinian people. A decision made by Israel with the support of the governments of the US, UK and EU.
Three years ago this month, Israel ended its devastating military offensive on the Gaza strip, which killed 2,251 Palestinians, including 551 children. A further 11,000 were injured, leaving many people, including around a thousand children, with life-altering disabilities. The 50-day long Operation Protective Edge, all but obliterated Gaza’s infrastructure and left it highly contaminated.
To deliberately incarcerate people in their own land, refuse them the right to travel and trade and deprive them of all but the essential means of survival is a clear breach of international law. Such behaviour is not acceptable for modern democracies.
The UN warned that Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020 unless the blockade is lifted.
More aid, medicine, electricity and clean water would be a welcome relief to many, but it is hypocritical to cause the problem and then pretend to assist by partially alleviating the situation we have created. Israel controls Gaza by land, air and sea; effectively sealing it off from the world. The only solution is to eliminate the causes — to end the 50-year occupation and the 10-year siege of Gaza.
We are calling on the world to act, to abide by their obligations under international law and for the UK government to intervene to end this crisis in Gaza we have helped create.
For this to happen it requires the removal by Israel of all obstacles to the exercise of human rights by Palestinians in Gaza; and the immediate lifting of the blockade, allowing imports and exports, not just insufficient supplies of humanitarian aid.
We, the undersigned, call for an end to the man-made crisis in Gaza and for: - the immediate lifting of the blockade of Gaza and allowing of imports and exports; - the UK government to abide by their obligations under international law to end the siege; - the removal by Israel of all obstacles to the exercise of human rights by Palestinians in Gaza, including the right to travel and trade.
Ben Jamal, Palestine Solidarity Campaign Hugh Lanning, Palestine Solidarity Campaign Salman Abu Sitta John Austin Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC Zaher Birawi, International Committee for Breaking the Siege on Gaza Baroness Tessa Blackstone Christine Blower Victoria Brittain Alan Brown MP Mick Cash, RMT Caryl Churchill Manuel Cortes, TSSA Kevin Courtney, NUT Ronnie Cowan MP Mike Cushman William Dalrymple Martyn Day MP Kareem Dennis (aka Lowkey) Brian Eno Jill Evans MEP Bella Freud Pat Gaffney, Pax Christi Lindsey German, Stop The War Roger Godsiff MP Neil Gray MP Jeremy Hardy Philipa Harvey, NUT Revd Canon Garth Hewitt Kate Hudson, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament Betty Hunter Jeremy Irons Councillor Morriam Jan Ghada Karmi Mohammed Kozbar, Muslim Association of Britain Paul Laverty Clive Lewis MP Ken Loach Caroline Lucas MP Miriam Margolyes Kika Markham David Martin MEP Professor Nur Masalha Len McCluskey, Unite the Union Professor Karma Nabulsi Brendan O’Hara MP Ilan Pappe John Pilger Dave Prentis, General Secretary, Unison Dave Randall Louise Regan, NUT Asad Rehman, War on Want Professor Jonathan Rosenhead, Free Speech on Israel Atallah Said OBE, British Palestinian Policy Council Alexei Sayle Mark Serwotka, PCS Tommy Sheppard MP Clare Short Andy Slaughter MP Keith Sonnet Ahdaf Soueif Chris Stephens MP Keith Taylor MEP Mark Thomas David Thompson Baroness Jenny Tonge Kiri Tunks, NUT Lord Norman Warner Mick Whelan, ASLEF Matt Wrack, FBU Benjamin Zephaniah Dr Adeeb Ziadeh, Palestinian Forum in Britain