End the blockade on Gaza now
This familiar cycle of destruction and reconstruction in Gaza must end. We demand that the the international community address the underlying causes of the hostilities and end the Israeli blockade. Aid is not a substitute for human rights and the denial of freedom can never lead to lasting peace.
The illegal Israeli blockade continues to have a devastating effect on all facets of society in Gaza. Exports from Gaza and people’s movement to and from the Gaza Strip remain banned, and access to fishing areas and land severely limited. The already dire economic situation was compounded in the summer of 2014 due to the Israeli assault, which left Gaza in rubble without any options to rebuild their homes or economy. Access to movement, goods, and services remains under Israeli control. Nearly 10,000 people are still living in temporary shelters because their homes are now rubble and they have no way to rebuild. Over 2,200 people lost their lives, including many children, because they had nowhere to run. A return to the status quo of the blockade is not a lasting solution.
The people of Gaza must have freedom of movement, freedom of access, freedom to trade, freedom from aid dependency and freedom from the fear of death and destruction. They have been living under the collective punishment of an Israeli-imposed blockade for over eight years. UNRWA works tirelessly to protect and support the people of Gaza, but there must also be a policy change for real progress.
We say with one voice: “Yes to reconstruction, yes to lifting the blockade, and yes to freedom for Gaza.” Safeguarding Israel’s security must come with respect for the dignity and humanity of the Palestinian people. Palestinians, too, have legitimate security concerns and the right to live free from the fear of death and destruction. They are being denied a future. That future must be restored.
Photo credit: Heidi Levine/SIPA/Rex
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