Endorse the petition below and add your name to urge President Obama to end the blockade of Gaza.
- Escrito por Churches for the Middle East
A letter on the same subject of Gaza was recently sent to the President signed by fifty-three members of Congress.
Living conditions in Gaza imposed by the blockade are deplorable. Damage to buildings, homes and other critical infrastructure from the war a year ago remain unrepaired because construction materials are prohibited from entering.
With no materials for maintenance there are now millions of gallons of untreated waste water being dumped into the Mediterranean Sea on a daily basis. Much of the drinking water is unhealthy. This has negative public health repercussions for Palestinians and Israelis. The complete prohibition of exports has collapsed the local economy and left high rates of unemployment.
Gaza's residents have been left without adequate housing, without work, and without hope. This is a dangerous situation that needs urgent attention.
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Israel’s closure policies, rather than weakening Hamas as Israel had hoped, have helped Hamas tighten its authoritarian grip over Gaza and its economy. While many Gazans are unhappy with Hamas, there is no evidence that Gazans will overthrow Hamas to end their suffering. Instead, their anger is directed at Israel, the U.S., and the international community.
The following data illustrates the grim toll taken by Israel’s closure policy.
- 70% of Gazans survive on $1 a day. 40% of workers are unemployed.
- 850 trucks daily with food, goods and fuel entered from Israel, pre-closure; 128 today.
- The closure and the war have virtually halted manufacturing and most agricultural exports. Before 2007, 70 trucks a day carried Gazan exports for Israel, the West Bank and foreign markets valued at $330 million, or 10.8% of Gaza’s GDP.
- 11% of Gazan children are malnourished, to the point of stunting, due to poverty and inadequate food imports. Infant mortality is no longer declining.
- 281 of 641 schools were damaged and 18 destroyed in the war because of the closure. Few have been rebuilt, and thousands of students lack books or supplies. There are daily eight hour power shortages.
- The war and Israel’s refusal to allow imports of cement and material to rebuild 20,000 destroyed or damaged homes have left many more thousands of Gazans in tents, temporary structures, or with other families.
- Many war-damaged or deteriorating water and sewage facilities are health and environmental hazards, for lack of rebuilding supplies and equipment.
- The war damaged 15 of 27 hospitals and 43 of 110 clinics. Imports of medicine and equipment are delayed. Doctors cannot leave for training, and patients face long delays to visit Israeli hospitals. 28 have reportedly died while waiting.
- Movement of people in and out of Gaza, including students, aid and medical workers, journalists, and family members, is severely limited.
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