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Open Letter Gaza in crisis: a political choice, not a natural disaster

The world knows Gaza is in crisis. No clean water, only three to four hours of electricity a day and not enough medicine.

Nearly two million people live besieged in conditions which 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 1,000 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 British 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 manmade crisis in Gaza and for:

  • The immediate lifting of the blockade of Gaza and allowing of imports and exports

  • The British 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
Brenda 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



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