Ten years. Can you imagine?
10 years ago, Israel closed its borders with the Gaza Strip, intensifying restrictions that had long been in place targeting the tiny strip of land home to more than 1.5 million Palestinians — many of them children — to whom Israel has deliberately denied the most basic means of survival including sanitation infrastructure, food, and drinking water. Today, a decade later, 2 million Palestinians remain trapped and as the population has steadily grown, the economy has been decimated, leaving the residents in an unprecedented humanitarian crisis.
The blockade of Gaza, which is enforced by both Israel and Egypt and backed by the U.S., has not only denied Palestinians in Gaza the ability to leave to secure medical treatment, unite with family, or study abroad; it also denies them the right to sustain themselves through fishing, farming, and other traditional means of survival. This tenth anniversary comes at a time when Israel, with support of other regimes in the region, is implementing further cuts to electricity and catastrophe looms.
Please take a minute to imagine: an entire decade of being cut off from the world.
This summer, we’ll be sharing actions against the blockade and in commemoration of the devastating 2014 bombardment of Gaza that left more than 2,000 dead, the vast majority innocent civilians, including more than 500 children.
USCPR has also begun creating a web section on Gaza compiling important resources from member groups and other sources as part of Track 1: Not that Complicated in our 2017 political education series, Together We Rise: Palestine as a Model of Resistance. The section includes:
- Powerful infographics and videos about Gaza that help tell the story
- Gaza Unlocked, a project of member group American Friends Service Committee that provides first-hand accounts from Palestinians living in Gaza, as well as action ideas including this online form to urge your congressional representatives to end the blockade.
Through Gaza, we see the compounded iterations of Israeli settler colonialism. The vast majority of Palestinians in Gaza are already refugees from Israel’s creation in 1948 through the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, which forced hundreds of thousands living in the southern parts of Palestine to flee to what became known as the Gaza Strip. Less than 20 years later, in 1967, Israel occupied Gaza along with the West Bank, displacing and traumatizing the population for a second time in a violent occupation that continues today, a half century later. Israel’s blockade over the past decade has subjected that same population to an intentional humanitarian crisis manufactured by Israel.
With Gaza closed off from the world, it may be easy to put it out of our minds the grotesque situation designed by Israel to strangle the people of Gaza. We cannot forget. Today, as we mark ten years, let us recommit ourselves to the liberation of Palestinians in Gaza and elsewhere resisting varied forms of Israel’s brutal policies.
P.S. There’s still time to sign up for our webinar on Tuesday, World Refugee Day — No Bans on Stolen Lands: Refugee Resistance from the U.S. to Palestine — connecting Trump’s #MuslimBan with Israel’s 70-year ban on Palestinian refugees.