Entire Blockade of Gaza Must Be Lifted

On September 6th, I posted a blog concerning what I considered bad reporting by many in the mainstream media, ‘Palmer Report Did Not Find Gaza Blockade Legal Despite Media Headlines’.

Amnesty International recently signed on to a joint open letter to members of the MiddleEast Quartet — an important mediating body in the peace process that includes the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia — with almost two dozen other human rights and humanitarian organizations in regards to the Palmer commission’s report on the 2010 flotilla incident and the continued closure of Gaza.

The letter asks the ME Quartet representatives to ensure that the claim in the Palmer Report that the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip is lawful is not misunderstood to mean that the entire closure regime imposed on Gaza is legal.  The letter asks them to also step up efforts to ensure an immediate and unconditional lifting of the closure.

Amnesty International believes the Israeli-imposed blockade on the Gaza Strip is collective punishment and illegal.  Israel, as the occupying power with effective control over Gaza, should

– lift the blockade immediately and open crossing points under its control to:

  1. allow fuel, food, and other necessities into Gaza without restrictions and permit the free entry of educational and medical equipment and construction materials necessary for rebuilding and all other materials essential to enabling Gaza’s population to enjoy their human rights
  2. allow export of goods from Gaza and the import of raw and other materials necessary for Gaza’s industrial production

– immediately return all arable land inside Gaza currently used as “buffer zone”

– agree on fair fishing zone with Palestinian representatives that is equivalent to the distance Israel enjoys from its coast for its fishing industry

– ensure that Israeli security forces at Gaza’s borders use force only when necessary to counter genuine threats and do not use lethal force except in the circumstances allowed under international law.

For more, watch this AFP interview with Amnesty’s Philip Luther

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