The blockade imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip over a year ago has left the entire population of 1.5 million Palestinians trapped with dwindling resources and an economy in ruins. Some 80 per cent of the population now depend on the trickle of international aid that the Israeli army allows in. This humanitarian crisis is man-made and entirely avoidable. Even patients in dire need of medical treatment not available in Gaza are often prevented from leaving and scores of them have died. Students who have scholarships in universities abroad are likewise trapped in Gaza, denied the opportunity to build a future. The Israeli authorities argue that the blockade on Gaza is in response to Palestinian attacks, especially the indiscriminate rockets fired from Gaza at the nearby Israeli town of Sderot. These and other Palestinian attacks killed 25 Israelis in the first half of this year; in the same period Israeli forces killed 400 Palestinians. However, the Israeli blockade does not target the Palestinian armed groups responsible for attacks - it collectively punishes the entire population of Gaza.The siege of Gaza is punishing an entire population under the mantle of stopping militant attacks on Israel. The current shut down of aid into Gaza is in its tenth day (as of 11/15/08). Amnesty International and other organizations are calling for Israel to allow humanitarian aid to enter Gaza. The people in Gaza were already on a razor's edge of survival. The current shut down by Israel is making an already desperate situation impossible. Imagine yourself and your family and friends after 10 days without food, electricity, medical care or supplies. That is Gaza right now. I urge you to take one or more of the following actions:
- Visit Amnesty International and consider joining
- Sign the One Million to End the Siege petition
- Visit the American Friend Service Committee (AFSC) for information and action opportunities
- Send a letter to your Representatives (US) from AFSC
- Contact President Elect Barack Obama and tell him to add his voice to easing the conditions in Gaza
- Spread the word to your friends about the situation in Gaza.