Gaza 2020: Breaking the Siege is an international movement which aims to challenge Israel’s inhumane blockade of 2 million Gazans. A delegation of activists, teachers, politicians, and human rights advocates sought to cut the fence and enter Gaza to coincide with the start of 2020 – the year Gaza becomes uninhabitable according to the UN.
It is not a matter of time running out. Time has already run out. The people of Gaza cannot live one more year in a poisoned, overpopulated and desertified land. This is why we have taken direct action, to raise awareness about Israel’s medieval siege and demand an end to the collective punishment of all Gaza, which has been ongoing since 2007.
1.8 million Gazans are trapped in the world’s largest open air prison. 12 years of Israel’s brutal siege and blockade by land, sea and air has devastated every sector and every aspect of life in the strip. 97% of aquifer water is undrinkable, 46% of essential drugs and medicines are unavailable, and over 50% of the population is unemployed. Gazans suffer chronic shortages of water, medicine, fuel, electricity, and food, with 80% of the population relying on foreign aid to survive.
In 2015, the UN predicted that by 2020 Gaza would be uninhabitable. This dire warning was ignored by the Israeli government and military, which has continued its brutal blockade to this day.
Despite the severity of the situation, Palestinians in Gaza have never stopped fighting for their right to self determination and the right of return. In March 2018, “The Great March of Return” began. Thousands protested weekly at the Israeli barrier wall, demanding an end to the suffocating military siege and the right of return for Palestinian refugees. 70% of Gazans themselves are refugees, displaced during the Nakba in 1948. Since the demonstrations began, more than 330 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli occupation forces and at least 31,000 people injured.
And the entrenchment of the siege continues. The Israeli government is surrounding Gaza as we speak with longer, wider, higher, and deeper walls. When completed, the new wall will be 6 meters high, a meter wide and an undisclosed depth, costing over $1 billion. As Netanyahu builds more walls, his closest ally applauds from the White House. Trump has previously stated his intention to use Israel’s Gaza barrier as a role model for his infamous Mexico wall.
The wall is a new measure of suffocation and siege against the Palestinian people that further solidifies the siege and entrapment. With this barrier, Israel will also confiscate even more of Gaza’s little arable land, as well as demonstrating the Israeli government’s intention of continuing the siege for many years to come. Without international pressure, Gaza will remain a prison for those inside indefinitely.
Gaza 2020: Breaking the Siege demands the international community to end its deafening silence and pressure the Israeli government:
– to immediately lift it’s medieval siege on Gaza, and allow unimpeded access to all forms of humanitarian assistance,
– to restore the human rights of Gazans and the right of return for Palestinian refugees forcibly expelled from their homes in 1948 and 1967,
– and to join the overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society sectors calling on the international community to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel until it complies with international law.