UA: Protest hermetic Blockade of the Gaza Strip

URGENT APPEAL: Ref: UA P 03 / 06.

29 September 2006

VIOLATIONS: Hermetic Blockade on the Gaza Strip

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please copy the letter below the Background information or write in your own words and send to:

Prime Minister of Israel, Mr EHUD OLMERT, pm_eng@pmo.gov.il

AND Cc: (simply copy all addresses together and paste into Cc). mail@palestine-un.org; ngochr@ohchr.org; adamos.adamou@europarl.europa.eu; usa@un.int

OPTIONAL: PLEASE ALSO SEND APPEALS TO: Diplomatic Representatives of ISRAEL in your country. Link to ISRAEL Embassies worldwide

http://www.embassyworld.com/embassy/Israel/Israel1.html

The Foreign Minister of your country – WORLD-WIDE Governments:

http://www.library.northwestern.edu/govpub/resource/internat/foreign.html

Please cut and paste and send this appeal to your mailing lists

BACKGROUND

See:

Effect of Closure on the Gaza Strip: http://www.pchrgaza.org/files/clouse/english/clouse2006.htm

And,

Special Report on the Israeli Closure of the Gaza Strip

Closure Update No. 49

12 September 2005 – 30 April 2006

Published on: 12 June 2006

By the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

http://www.pchrgaza.org/files/Reports/English/clouseup49.htm

Mr EHUD OLMERT

Prime Minister,

State of Israel

Dear Mr Prime Minister,

On humanitarian grounds I appeal to you to immediately lift the blockade and trade embargo on the Gaza Strip.

The closure of the crossings and complete blockade compounded with the reprehensible economic embargo by the United States, the European Union (EU) and Israel imposed on the occupied Palestinian territories following the democratic election of a Hamas-led Palestinian government in February has led to an increase in the poverty and unemployment rates. About 85 percent of families in the Gaza Strip are living below the poverty line. This means that more than two out of three Palestinians are trying to live on less than US $2 a day.

According to the World Food Programme (WFP), which distributes food to hundreds of thousands of families in Gaza, the closures of entry points have cut Gazan farmers’ agricultural cycle, limiting the supply of vital food products and isolating the Gaza market from external trade. The PA’s Minister of Agriculture, Mohammed al-Agha, stated that “Israel’s security measures had cost Palestinian farmers thousands of acres of farmland and nearly US $1.2 billion since the start of the second intifada [Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation] in September 2000.”

Furthermore, the blockade violates civilians’ right to freedom of movement and travel to and from the Strip. In addition, it has adversely affecting the flow of food and medical supplies and other necessities such as fuel, construction materials, and raw materials for various economic sectors. This blockade has had unprecedented catastrophic impact on the living conditions of the civilian population.

As to humanitarian cases, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) allows the passage of 4-6 patients daily for treatment in Israeli and West Bank hospitals. This number of patients was reduced to 3 daily during the period from 9-17 September 2006 for security reasons, noting that most of these patients are critical cases that do not pose any danger to Israelis. These patients require treatment for serious illnesses such as cancer, spinal cord implant, ophthalmic surgery, child deformities, bone and spinal cord injuries, and heart diseases requiring catherization or surgery. These patients are forced to wait for hours at the crossing to undergo complex passage and security procedures. Patients are forced to pay additional financial expenses to rent Israeli ambulances to transport them from the crossing to hospitals since Palestinian ambulances are barred from transporting patients.

On 26 September, John Dugard, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 commented that the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory had deteriorated since 2001, and was intolerable, appalling, and tragic for ordinary Palestinians.

I urge the Israeli government

* to immediately end its war crime policy of siege and closure against 4 million Palestinians
* to respect international conventions,
* to comply with the resolutions of international law that respects human rights.

Yours sincerely

Copies sent to:

H.E. NASSER AL-KIDWA, Ambassador, Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine, mail@palestine-un.org

Ms LOUISE ARBOUR High Commissioner for Human Rights ngochr@ohchr.org

Mr ADAMOS ADAMOU, Chairman, EU Delegation for the relations with the Palestinian Legislative Council adamos.adamou@europarl.europa.eu

H.E. Mr JOHN BOLTON, US Ambassador to the United Nations usa@un.int

JUSTICE For PALESTINE MATTERS

(Australia)

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