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Britain Should Lead International Action to End Blockade of Gaza Before It Is Too Late

By Chris Doyle

Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, December 9, 2013

Caabu urges the British government to push towards a resolution to the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza. A solution to this disaster should be found with absolute urgency in order to avert conflict and more suffering for 1.7 million people. The British government has a legal and moral duty towards Gaza’s civilians to insist that both Israeli and Egyptian governments to end this lethal blockade. As the occupying force, Israel must open up the official crossing points, allowing for goods to be transported into Gaza – in particular food, medicine and construction materials. The Egyptian government must keep the Rafah crossing open for Palestinians to travel through. Whilst the security concerns of both governments are valid, the destruction of 2,000 illegal tunnels from Egypt has prevented the transportation of essential items. Therefore, it is imperative that proper, legal monitored crossing points are allowed to operate fully. If such a resolution is not found, another conflict in Gaza would further devastate the lives of those already having to endure grave conditions.
Caabu welcomes the statement from British Foreign Office Minister Hugh Robertson, a year on from the conflict between Israel and Gaza. He called on “the Israeli, Egyptian and Palestinian authorities to work together to ensure that the efforts to shut down smuggling tunnels are accompanied by equally determined efforts to open up legal trade and movement for the people of Gaza. “ These efforts must also be accompanied by a determined policy of ending this humanitarian catastrophe, and prevent another conflict.
Gaza is suffering its worst fuel shortages in years. The impact this has on healthcare, sanitation, education and trade is disastrous.  A UN OCHA report highlighted the seriousness of this crisis:
·         The shutdown of the Gaza Power Plant on 1st November has meant that households in Gaza have had to endure power outages of up to 16 hours a day.
·         Water and waste facilities have also been affected:   40% receive water once every three days for six to eight hours.
·         Sewage spills are becoming increasingly commonplace. 3,000 people in Gaza City were affected by one serious sewage spill.
·         Ninety million litres of untreated wastewater is going into the sea each day.
·         The effect on essential health services such as kidney dialysis, infant incubators, operating theatres, blood banks, intensive care units, and laboratories, is particularly concerning.
Caabu’s director Chris Doyle said: 

“Unless the blockade of Gaza is eased substantially, the chances of a major flare-up are extremely high. It is disgraceful that almost two million people are denied the most basic necessities of life, and the longer that continues the greater the chances of a bloody repeat of last year’s conflict.  The international community has been far too complacent about this issue as it has been throughout more than six years of this blockade.”
This policy of collective punishment towards ordinary Palestinian civilians of Gaza should end immediately and the British government should lead the international efforts to stop this. Civilian suffering in Gaza should not be the price of any political disputes.

1.       For more information or interviews, please contact Chris Doyle on
2.       Hugh Robertson statement:
3.       UN OCHA Report:
4.       Power plant closure:
Chris Doyle

Advancing Arab-British Relations
1 Gough Square, London, EC4A 3DE
Tel: +44 20 7832 1321 
 Fax: +44 207832 1329
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Skype: caabu




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