Stop Israeli Policy of Siege and Isolation of the Gaza strip
The Government of Israel continues to tighten the noose on the Palestinian People through imposing the economic closure on the Gaza Strip as a form of collective punishment. Israel has declared the Gaza Strip “a hostile entity,” and is beginning to translate this declaration into practical steps; for example, Israel doesn’t permit any access to raw materials, so 85% of Gaza manufacturing business has been closed down with over 35,000 workers laid off. An additional 35,000 workers have been laid off from other sectors including construction, trade and service sectors. All imports and exports remain blocked while few basic materials are allowed to enter the Strip. Medical supplies are lacking in the hospitals which reduces hospitals’ capacity to treat patients.
Moreover, the Israeli incursions to Beit Hanoon, Beit Lahia, Khan Younis and Al Shijaya regions have never stopped, resulting in huge destruction especially in agricultural lands and enterprises. The Gaza Strip has been transformed into one big prison; movement is restricted to a few people moving to and from and the Gaza Strip via Eritz checkpoint; even this is usally possible only through special permits and high level interventions.
The agriculture sector is undergoing a severe crisis which is visible in the lack of basic agricultural requirements: fertilizers, pesticides, chemicals, nylon that is used in cultivating Strawberry, spare parts for water pumps, materials required to build greenhouses, in addition to other supplies like irrigation networks and seedlings. It’s also notable that the price of basic materials has doubled when they are available. The result: 30 % of people that practice farming have abandoned cultivation, leaving work in this field or any thing related to it. One key reason for abandoning farming is the absence of export opportunities, especially for strawberries, cut flowers and other cash crops. It’s noteworthy that even the agricultural projects run by NGOs are in danger of coming to a halt due to the fact that basic production materials are unavailable or prohibitively expensive.
Many voices have been raised in protest against this humanitarian crisis, including international agencies and solidarity groups. We, in Palestine and in the Agricultural Development Association (PARC) in Gaza, in particular, highly appreciate these good efforts and call for greater mobilization of international and public opinion to pressure to end the Israeli blockade imposed on the Gaza strip particularly to open the crossings, for export seasons and to allow production requirements to access to the Gaza strip, and to oblige the Government of Israel to stop its illegal practices against the Palestinian people in the Gaza strip and the West Bank. We also call for resuming the peace process on the basis of justice and equity to bring to an end to the Occupation and to establish the Palestinian independent State under the Palestinian sovereignty.
PARC hopes to use the Madrid Conference- which will be held in Madrid in mid-December and will be attended by international organizations, agencies and social movements – as a forum for a demonstration to support the Palestinian position, calling for an end to the siege and to the collective punishment imposed on 1.5 million Palestinian in the Gaza strip with an appeal for a just and lasting political solution to the Palestinian case in line with International and Security Council resolutions, to allow for Palestinian self-rule and self-determination.
We also appeal to the Madrid Peace Conferences’ participants to make rapid interventions in their own countries-through lobbying their governments to end the economic closure, sending relief aid and solidarity missions, demonstrating in front of the Israeli embassies in their countries, and sending protest letters to the Secretary of the Quartet; UN General secretary; President of United States, and the Prime Minister of Israel to prevent the imminent humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.