Gaza is in the grip of a man-made humanitarian crisis. Thousands of tons of food, medical and emergency shelter aid including blankets and mattresses, is being denied entry through crossings by both the Israeli and Egyptian governments.
Hundreds of medical patients are being prohibited from leaving Gaza. Over 268 people have died of preventable and treatable conditions after being denied access to treatment since the beginning of the ongoing siege two years ago.
Israel and Egypt have designated February 5th as the final day for all foreign nationals to leave Gaza through the southern Rafah border. Egypt has said it will close the Rafah border indefinitely. Despite a statement from the Egyptian Ministry of Health that humanitarian cases will be allowed through, many patients have already been turned back, before the closing of the border. Hundreds of patients and some of those wounded from ‘Cast Lead,’ are still waiting for permission to exit Gaza through Rafah for medical treatment.
The Gazan community is concerned that Israel will be stepping up its’ economic, political, cultural and militarised stranglehold on Gaza in the upcoming weeks. Post Israeli elections, Gazans fear the Israeli government will conduct extra judicial killings and continue their deadly strikes on Palestinian governmental figures, targeting of social and economic infrastructure and indiscriminate killings of civilians in the process.
Thousands of internally displaced people face an uncertain future residing in flimsy canvas tents reminiscent of the mass dispossession through the ethnic cleansing of 1948 when the state of Israel was first established on Palestinian land.
A de-facto land grab and re-colonisation of Gaza is underway, with the demolition of hundreds of homes and destruction of farms in the Israeli defined ‘buffer zone’ areas of Rafah, Eastern (Shijaye) and Northern (Beit Hanoun) areas of Gaza. The ‘buffer zone’ has been expanded to cut into Palestinian lands by one kilometre. Israeli occupation forces have shot at residents that have attempted to retrieve their belongings from the bombed and bulldozed remnants of their homes along the border of Beit Hanoun. The army also continues to fire at farmers planting their fields in village areas such as al Faraheen near Khan Younis.
The Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture says Israeli occupation forces have destroyed 60% of Gaza’s agricultural land during this winter’s war.
Effective international direct action and an escalation of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction campaign is necessary to resist the intensification of the collective punishment, imprisonment and ongoing war on the people of Palestine.
The situation is worsening: the stranglehold on the people of Gaza is tightening, humanitarian relief is being deliberately choked, trauma is deepening, people are being humiliated on a daily basis and development is not just blocked but in the process of being actively reversed.
We call on social movements, particularly No Borders networks, and people of conscience to target Israeli and Egyptian embassies, institutions, and corporations. Particularly in the coming days of intensified border closure, we must work to pressure both governments to abide by international law and open Gaza for the free movement of aid, goods and people.