“We in the international community have a responsibility not to fail the Palestinians in Gaza, we have the responsibility to help them recover from the physical and emotional traumas of war, we have the responsibility to assist them in rebuilding their lives and livelihoods and, ultimately, to see Gaza and the West Bank reunited and the closures lifted.” UN Special Coordinator, Nickolay Mladenov, May 25, 2016
For nearly a decade Gaza has been largely sealed off from the world. Ordinary people-- men, women, and children--have been denied the opportunity to lead ordinary lives. Israel maintains the blockade with security as the stated purpose, along with Egypt which has only intermittently opened the Rafah crossing into Gaza, and the Palestinian leadership whose internal divisions contribute to the misery of their people.
Of the approximately 18,000 homes destroyed or severely damaged during the 2014 hostilities, about 23% have been rebuilt or repaired, and an estimated 70,000 people are still displaced according a May UN report. Severe electricity and fuel shortages lead to rolling blackouts lasting for hours each day and restrict the ability to pump water and treat sewage.
Citing the recent escalation in violence between Israel and Hamas, UN Special Coordinator Nikolay Mladenov said, “These incidents in recent weeks underscore the fragility of the security dynamics on the ground, particularly the threat to the ceasefire in Gaza…” And he noted, “Unless radically more is done to address the chronic realities in Gaza, it is not a question of ‘if, but rather of ‘when’ another escalation will take place,” adding, “I once again encourage donors to fulfil their commitments to support Gaza’s reconstruction, recovery and development.”
Gaza suffering does nothing to keep Israelis safe. The security and welfare of Israelis and Palestinians depends on addressing the underlying issues, including lifting the Gaza blockade.
Contact your representative and senators today and ask them to:
- Make a public statement calling for an end to the Gaza blockade now
- Insist that Israeli security controls must not deprive Palestinians of their human rights
- Support U.S. funding for Gaza needs
Background and further information:
On Going Crises in Gaza and West Bank, ACT Alliance, May 24, 2016
Gaza Crossings Operations Status: Monthly Update, UN OCHA oPt April 2016