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Red Cross Calls on Israel to Lift Restrictions on Gaza

January 2008

Numerous partners of Grassroots International work daily to secure basic social and economic rights for Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories. Much of this work includes raising awareness of the appalling living conditions of ordinary Palestinians.

Now comes a statement by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) that further confirms the need for stronger human rights in the Territories. In a December statement, the ICRC described the living conditions of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip as “alarming” and called for Israel to ease restrictions on the movement of goods into Gaza and the West Bank.

The humanitarian organization noted that, particularly since June, restrictions on imports into Gaza have caused fuel shortages and have deprived Palestinians of the kind of goods necessary for a decent quality of life. “Essential infrastructure, including medical facilities and water and sanitation systems, is in an increasingly fragile state,” the ICRC wrote. In addition, the organization has issued a new report, “Dignity Denied in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” which outlines the daily hardships faced by residents of Gaza and the West Bank.

The attention the ICRC is giving to the situation in the Territories is particularly significant, given that it is a politically neutral, independent organization respected around the world. It is not viewed as anti-Israel.

Recently, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas attended an international donor conference in France, trying to raise billions of dollars for Palestinians. But would the Palestinian economy need fewer donations if Israel lifted its restrictions and allowed Palestinians to operate a thriving economy? We at Grassroots International think so.

For as long as it takes, Grassroots International is committed to supporting our Middle East grantees, including the Stop the Wall Campaign and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, as they seek to build viable communities in the Occupied Territories. You can help by learning more about our work in the Middle East and by keeping up to date with news about the precarious situation in the Territories.

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