As Middle East peoples engage in revolution, Israel’s stranglehold on Gaza continues. In a comprehensive November 2011 report, the Israeli human rights organization Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement concluded that Israel operates in breach of its obligations to Palestinians – especially Gazans – with inappropriate restrictions that control airspace, territorial waters, farmland, fishing areas, the population registry impacting where Palestinians can travel and live, the electric supply, the communications infrastructure, distribution of tax revenue, and movement of goods and people.
Inside Gaza, the Israeli military maintains a “No Go Zone,” denying farmers access to 1/3 of the Strip’s agricultural land. Truckloads through Kerem Shalom, the single crossing for imports from Israel, are well below 2006 numbers, and exports are severely restricted. Palestinians allowed through Rafah Crossing to Egypt have increased but are well below early 2006 averages. About 3000 exits per month through Erez Crossing (the only crossing for Gazans to Israel) are permitted – largely for medical reasons. Israel severely restricts Palestinian passage between the West Bank and Gaza, while reserving its military’s right to enter Gaza at will. Gisha concludes that Israel does not balance security needs with obligations to the people of Gaza and the West Bank.
Solidarity campaigns have, therefore, expanded across the globe. BDS actions, Gaza flotillas, and congressional lobbying regularly bring attention to the illegal Israeli Occupation. RCF has joined local and national partners in these efforts and has instituted Palestine House Parties to educate newcomers. We also continue support for grassroots projects in Gaza – the Rachel Corrie Ramadan Soccer Tournament, the Maia and Olympia-Rafah Solidarity Mural efforts, a new student pen-pal project, and the ongoing sale of Palestinian olive oil and embroidery. We look forward to expanding our work in 2012 to support better lives for all in the Middle East.
To read Gisha’s November 2011 report, visit www.gisha.org.