A GLOBAL movement calling for the Israeli government to lift the blockade on Gaza has attracted nearly 500,000 signatories, after it emerged that not one of the 19,000 homes destroyed in last year’s fighting has been rebuilt, owing to restrictions on construction materials.
Some 35 faith and development charities are backing the campaign, which has been organised by the online activist network Avaaz, whose name means “voice” in several European, Middle Eastern, and Asian languages.
Last summer’s Israeli-Gaza conflict led to thousands’ being made homeless, as buildings were destroyed, and civilians fled rocket attacks. About 2000 Gazans were killed and 10,000 wounded in the conflict, including 3374 children, of whom more than 1000 have been left disabled.
Tony Laurance, the CEO of Medical Aid for Palestinians, which is supporting the global petition, said: “What Gaza needs more than anything is reconstruction, yet the government of Israel restricts the entry of even the most basic building materials. These severe restrictions prevent the rebuilding of even the most vital infrastructure in Gaza, including hospitals and clinics.”
Christian Aid’s policy and advocacy officer for Israel and the Palestinians, William Bell, said: “The blockade has helped to create some of the highest unemployment and aid-dependency levels in the world, making the lives of 1.8 million civilians miserable, and it needs to end now.”