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23 January 2008

Gaza: Stop the Blockade

Update: Gazans break out, through Rafah, into Egypt:

Sign and forward! It's the very least we can do. Don't bother quibbling about the "balanced" nature of the petition: just sign it!

The humanitarian crisis of sealed-off Gaza is getting worse: blackouts have brought global attention to the siege wrecking 1.5 million lives, with medicines, fuel and food stopped at the border for months. Civilians must be protected on all sides -- this is not the way to make anyone more secure.

We’re running an emergency global campaign to international, European and Arab leaders, calling on them to step in, stop the siege and help broker a ceasefire. We’ll deliver the petition when we reach 150,000 signatures -- so please add your name below, then spread the word:

To the United Nations, the European Union, the Quartet & the Arab League: We demand that you end the blockade and growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, ensure the free flow of supplies by land, sea or air, and help to broker the ceasefire which civilians on both sides desperately need.
More from Juan Cole:
Israeli Victory over Asthmatics, Newborns in Gaza

The humanitarian impact of Israel's electricity blockade of the Gaza Strip. Raw sewage in the streets, which will soon seep into houses; asthmatics choking; hospitals on the verge of switching off life support.

Robert Malley of the International Crisis Group is eloquent in the Boston Globe/ IHT on why this Israeli tactic is self-defeating. [From Doug: It's not self-defeating if the goal is not peace but domination and the perpetuation of the occupation. This fact seems to escape most commentators.]

But more important than whether it is practical or not, it is a war crime.

"Gaza Strip: Crisis worsens despite Israel's new fuel pledge". AKI reports:
Amid predictions that more than a million people would soon be without safe drinking water, there were reports of raw sewage spilling into the streets because there was no electricity to fuel the local pump station.

The Gaza power plant shut down its two working turbines on Sunday, leaving much of Gaza in darkness, after Israel closed border crossings on Friday.

Hospitals dependent on vital diesel supplies were also predicting that they would run out of fuel within hours and then be forced to make crucial life or death decisions for their patients.

John Ging, director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza said the civilian population was living in "abject misery" and had been stripped of their human dignity.

"People here in Gaza have been living in abject misery and hardship now for a long time," Ging told the Arab TV network, Al-Jazeera. "On top of that they are living in darkness.

"You have to see how miserable the situation is. The civilian population is under occupation. It is collective punishment -- they are victims."

"What we need is action and it starts with civilians."
More on this travesty from:

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