The National Committee for Return Marches and Breaking The Siege

The National Committee for Return marches and breaking the siege salutes the activists of the Gaza Campaign 2020 who were arrested by the occupying forces.

The National Committee for the March of Return and Breaking the Siege announced its solidarity with international activists arrested by the occupying forces on the separation fence east of the city of Khanyounis last Monday while trying to reach the besieged Gaza Strip. They are part of the international campaign Gaza 2020 Breaking the Siege, which aims to draw the world’s attention to the fact that there are two million Palestinians taken hostage by the occupying power and prisoners of war forcibly abducted in the largest collective prison in the world.

The National Committee said the detainees were European activists, including Anna Kontula, a member of the Finnish Parliament, Lisa Duscheck, an Austrian entrepreneur and humanitarian activist, as well as other human rights activists, including Julia Lister of Britain and Mads Gram of Denmark. The Israeli occupation forces arrested them, confiscated their passports and phones and interrogated them in Shabak and the anti-terrorism unit.

The National Committee salutes those who are in solidarity with justice and humanity and stand against the occupation, siege and racial discrimination and called on international humanitarian institutions to protect foreign solidarity from the oppression of the occupying forces.

The National Committee called on foreign solidarity and humanitarian and human rights institutions to continue to organize international campaigns to break the unjust blockade on the Gaza Strip from land and sea and to challenge the racist policies of occupation.

The National Committee for Return Marches and Breaking The Siege
January 15, 2020

Statement from BDS activist and academic.

Almost all of the drinking water is undrinkable! To be more precise, in 97% of Gaza our drinking water in contaminated due to sewage pollution and high salinity levels.
Due to poor maintenance, much of that sewage seeps into the aquifer, and because of the shortage of electricity, generators to lift up water to high rise buildings and even from wells, they can’t be fully operated and sometimes only work for a few hours a day. The electricity shortage also prevents the Strip’s sewage treatment plants from operating, allowing untreated sewage water to flow directly into the sea.

Gaza has only one power grid that was attacked repeatedly by the Israeli air forces. It provides Gaza with 40% of its need, the rest is supposed to be provided by the occupying power, i.e. Israel. But it has allowed only 40 watts of power to be provided to the Gaza strip in the full knowledge that 400 watts are needed for Gaza to meet the bare minimum survival needs. The UN has warned that without immediate action, the electricity crisis will bring about the collapse of vital life-saving, health, water, sanitation and municipal services. Cutting electricity is a death sentence for the almost 2 million Gazans living in the Israeli-imposed blockaded strip.

The blockade imposed by apartheid Israel is entering its 13th year now. Apartheid Israel has maintained a deadly medieval blockade on Gaza since 2007. Major UN and Human Rights organisations have warned of the imminent collapse of the Gaza strip. The UN made it absolutely clear that in 2020 Gaza will become “uninhabitable!” We are already there.
Half of the residents of the Gaza Strip live on less than $5.50 a day. According to the World Bank, the unemployment rate there has reached 53-67% among young people.

The terror of it is that Gazans die every day, but it is death from illness as a result of dirty water or the lack of a life-saving operations, starvation due to the crops that fail to grow without sufficient irrigation, or babies dying because they cannot be kept warm in their first few days of life.

The aim is to kill the spirit of resistance among the population, considering that 2 thirds of Gaza are refugees who were ethnically cleansed in 1948; they are a constant reminder of Israel’s original sin. This is why the blockade is, as Ilan Pappe puts it, an “incremental genocide.”

The crippling Israeli siege has shattered all spheres of life. In addition to Israel’s daily attacks and air strikes, Gazans also suffer from the contamination of water, air and soil, since the sewage system is unable to function due to power cuts necessitated by lack of fuel to the main generators of the Gaza power grid. Medical conditions due to injuries from internationally prohibited butterfly bullets and other illegal Israeli weapons as well as from water contamination cannot be treated because of the siege.

In addition to the ban on building materials, Israel also prevents many other necessities from being imported: lights bulbs, candles, matches, books, refrigerators, shoes, clothing, mattresses, sheets, blankets, tea, coffee, sausages, flour, cows, pasta, cigarettes, fuel, pencils, pens, paper… etc. In Gaza, people are wondering whether the current Israeli government, the most fascist in the county’s history, might even discuss a ban on Oxygen!

Add to this the drastic cuts endorsed by UNRWA, not to mention the constant closure of the Rafah crossing – the only exit Gaza has to the external world – leading to one of the highest unemployment rates and poverty on the face of the earth.

This siege is about getting rid of Gazans since most of them are refugees who have not forgotten about their internationally-stipulated right of return. Making their life as harsh as possible so that they either die of starvation and disease, or leave in search of a better life somewhere else.

This is why this action is so important since the international community has failed us by doing absolutely nothing. It is left to ordinary people of conscience to help break the siege.