END THE ISRAELI BLOCKADE ON GAZA
For nearly 12 years, Israel’s military and economic blockade on Gaza has created a humanitarian disaster for the nearly 2 million Palestinians living there. Israel and Egypt control Gaza’s borders by land, sea, and air, severely limiting travel, trade, and everyday life, and Israel does not allow most residents of Gaza to leave.
- Today, 96% of water is contaminated and unsafe to drink and untreated sewage is streaming into the sea.
- The United Nations warns that Gaza will become “unlivable” by 2020.
- The rate of Palestinian employment now exceeds 50% (2018) the highest rate in the world.
- Over 80% of residents depend on humanitarian aid which the Trump administration has almost entirely cut.
- Israel’s blockade is widely recognized as illegal under international law. In 2011, a United Nations panel found that it amounts to collective punishment in “flagrant contravention of international human rights and Humanitarian Law.”
Israel Has Deliberately Killed and Wounded Unarmed Protesters in Gaza’s Great March Of Return.
Starting in the spring of 2018, continuing through the present, and organized in response to this denial of basic rights and freedom, tens of thousands of unarmed Palestinians in Gaza participated in the Great March of Return demonstrations. Now held weekly by grassroots activists, the protests call for an end to Israel’s siege of Gaza and the right of return for Palestinian refugees – a right guaranteed for all refugees under international law.
In February 2019, the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 Gaza protests determined that by year’s end Israel had committed war crimes including the killings of 189 unarmed protesters
- According to the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, Palestinians killed at the marches include forty children, two women, two journalists, three paramedics and eight disabled people.
- The World Health Organization had totaled 24,000 injuries by November 2018.
- Human Rights Watch referred to the killings as “unlawful” and “calculated,” while Amnesty International demanded that Israel “end the use of excessive force” and “respect the Palestinians’ right to peaceful protest.”
- The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem has urged soldiers to disobey orders and refuse to shoot protestors.
- As of March 2019, Palestinian protesters were still being met with lethal force during weekly protests.
In August 2018, the Trump administration cut U.S. assistance to the United Nations Relief Works Agency by $300 million. The agency, which provides essential services such as education and healthcare to Palestinian refugees in Gaza, has been forced to lay off more than 250 employees. According to UNRWA, the cuts are “making an intolerable humanitarian crisis even more life-threatening.” These cuts in aid are costing Palestinian lives.
- Call on the Administration to release vital U.S. contributions to UNRWA and USAID funding for humanitarian programs in Gaza.
- Act to end to the illegal siege on Gaza, affirming Palestinian rights to protest for their right to return home, and demand an end to the Israeli military’s killings of unarmed protesters.
- Call for a State Dept investigation, to determine whether weapons used by the IDF in recent killing and maiming of unarmed Palestinian protesters were of US manufacture and/or purchased with US aid and, if yes, impose prescribed penalties under the Leahy Law for human rights violations.
Download a printable pdf here Gaza 2020