by the Israeli Government, with their blockade of Gaza. Recently, I went with the Free Gaza Movement by boat from Larnaca to Gaza to help break the siege of Gaza. This siege is a policy of collective punishment of one and a half million Gazans by Israel because they voted for a Hamas Government.
Collective punishment of civilians is against the Geneva Convention. The people of Gaza have been closed off completely from the world for two and a half years now, and their community and infrastructure is slowly being destroyed. There is a shortage of medicines, food, electricity and the basic necessities of life. But perhaps the worst form of torture for any human being is being unable to hold and touch the people they love, and the people of Gaza are not allowed to go across the now closed borders to be with their families. Hundreds of wives are parted from husbands in the West Bank, over 700 students cannot get out to go abroad to take up their positions in Universities, Sick people cannot get out to get hospital treatment, over 8O% of the children are suffering from malnutrition, and they have no milk for the children.
Gaza is like a huge prison except the Israeli Occupiers' policy is depriving the inmates of sufficient food and medicines for survival, in this the worlds largest open-air prison. The International community and UN, should resume economic assistance as they have a responsibility towards the civilian population of Gaza, which is not dependent on whether Hamas satisfies the political conditions set by Israel or whether ceasefires hold.
I was shocked and saddened by the suffering I witnessed, but I took hope from the warmth and resilience of the people of Gaza. They want dialogue and unity with other Palestinians in the West Bank, and dialogue with the Israeli Government based on justice and equality.
After meeting with Hamas Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyah and speaking at the Hamas Parliament, and at a meeting with over 100 political representatives, of all the political parties in Gaza, including Hamas and Fatah, I took away with me real hope that more and more Palestinians recognize that Palestinian National Unity and non-violent civil resistance is a political strategy that will work and give them great strength.
Increasingly they are recognizing that divided Palestinian people, armed struggle and militarism will not solve their problem. I hope that all those of us who want Peace in the Middle East, will support the rightful struggle of non-violent civil resistance of Palestinians for an end to Occupation, a Free Palestine, and the upholding of all UN resolutions including the UN resolution 194 - Right to return of Refugees.
As part of this non-violent civil resistance struggle, I support the Divestment/Disinvestment Campaign and the Campaign to end USA's military support ($10 million dollars per day) to Israel which helps funds the military occupation of Palestine and other moves for Boycott.
I also believe the Swiss Government, as repository for the Geneva Convention, should convene its members to discuss Israeli non-compliance of its obligations under the Geneva Convention. Also the Assembly of the United Nations should move to suspend Israel from its U.N. memberships, until it complies with all UN resolutions required of it.
It is to be hoped now that the Israeli Government will recognize too that Militarism, occupation and repression only feeds the violence and they will enter into serious dialogue and negotiations with Hamas and other Palestinian leaders, as the democratically elected voice of the Palestinian people. These negotiations should be within the framework of international law, particularly international humanitarian law and human rights law, and the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice and Security Council resolutions.
This year also the State of Israel celebrates its 60th anniversary.
I recognize the right of all people including the Jewish people to a peaceful existence. I also recognize the state of Israel but believe many of the Israeli Government's domestic and foreign policies are racist and uphold an apartheid system.
I believe such policies do not reflect the profound wise Jewish values of justice and peace. In an interdependent, interconnected world, where countries are made up of multi-ethnic, multi-religious, groups, we are challenged to build Government structures which reflect the plurality of all citizens and whose laws are inclusive of all members of that society.
Governments cannot marginalize or have second class citizenship for whole sections of the population, as such injustice will result in violence. We learned this lesson in Northern Ireland, and are now moving towards a power-sharing all inclusive Government.
I believe to have genuine peace, the Israeli Government needs to move from a Jewish state to a power-sharing democratic state which is equal and inclusive of all its citizens and not just its Jewish citizens.