What we can do

September 3, 2010

In What We Can Do

The United States recently extended an invitation to Israel and the Palestinian Authority to re-start direct talks. Both sides accepted.

Tomorrow, Israel and the Palestinian Authority will begin their first direct negotiations in nearly two years. To say that a lot is riding on the outcome, would be the understatement of the century.

Divisions between Israel and Palestinians have made this one of the world’s most intractable conflicts. The blockade on the tiny strip of land is about 130 square miles (approximately the size of Las Vegas, Nevada) and traps more than 1.5 million Palestinian men, women, and children within its boundaries. The Gaza Strip has served to spark more tension and hostility as well as worsen an already dire humanitarian situation.

But we can do something about it. Your letters and postcards have a tremendous impact when we pool them together and deliver them personally. So that’s exactly what we’re going to do – all you have to do is sign and send a postcard.

When we reach 10,000 postcards, we’ll hand deliver them to the White House. Your postcard can help build the pressure that we need to shine a light on the people of Gaza.

Collective punishment in Gaza

That’s the real horror of the blockade – it does not target any armed group, but instead imposes a vicious form of collective punishment on Gaza’s entire population, particularly the most vulnerable – children (who make up more than half of the population in Gaza), the elderly, and the sick.

In addition to restricting Palestinians’ movement from Gaza into Israel, the blockade has also severely undermined Palestinians’ right to access:

  • Clean water: only 5% to 10% of water available is fit for human consumption
  • Medical care: people with serious medical conditions are frequently delayed or denied exit permits to leave
  • Education: students are denied permits to leave even after being awarded scholarships and acceptance at higher learning centers
  • Food: the malnutrition rate among children is on the rise, and four in five Gazans are dependent on humanitarian aid

These acts are in direct violation of international human rights and humanitarian law and must be stopped.

Amnesty members have the power to break this blockade! Sending a postcard can make all the difference.

Christoph Koettl
Crisis Campaigner
Amnesty International USA