Dear friends and colleagues,
I write to share a few updates, following the latest escalation in Gaza and its aftermath, and to thank you for your ongoing support and solidarity. I also want to invite you to a briefing call by Gisha this week, Tuesday, June 1st, details are below.
Firstly, I’m very glad to report that Gisha’s field coordinator in Gaza, Mohammed Azaiza, and his family are physically safe. He was in the unimaginable position of trying to protect his family and explain to his young children what was happening around them as Israeli airstrikes hit his neighborhood.
Nothing can mitigate the lives lost or damage done. I am heartened to see that the international conversation around human rights in Gaza, and Palestine more generally, is shifting and I’m proud of Gisha’s role in this.
Gisha’s current priorities are as follows:
Opening the crossings and allowing safe access. Israel still has not restored operations at Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings since it closed them almost three weeks ago. The fishing zone was only partially re-opened. We categorically reject attempts at making access contingent on political developments, which amounts to collective punishment of the civilian population of Gaza.
Repairing the damage. Israel is obligated to ensure the well-being of protected persons living under occupation. At the bare minimum, that means allowing unconditional entry of essential goods and construction materials necessary for reconstruction.
Fighting the coronavirus in Gaza and the coronavirus closure. Israel must also act to protect the health of all Palestinians under its control, by providing vaccines in line with its legal obligations. It must also refrain from exploiting the pandemic to keep Gaza closed.
Transforming an unacceptable reality through sustained engagement. More than 14 years of closure, four military operations, and a global pandemic have exacted an unbearable price for residents of Gaza. When it only seems quiet from outside, Gisha works continuously to sustain Israeli and international engagement on Gaza beyond the news cycle.
Reframing Gaza in the broader context. The situation in Gaza is not the outcome of a natural disaster. It is the result of Israel’s deliberate policy of fragmenting the Palestinian territory, including through movement restrictions, with ramifications for every aspect of daily life.
Thank you again for your support. We will continue to keep you updated on new developments as they unfold. I welcome you to follow updates on Gisha’s Twitter and website, and invite you to join Gisha during this difficult period by making a contribution to our work.
Please join us on Tuesday, June 1st at 7pm (Jerusalem time, 12pm EST, 9am PST). We will be hosting a private briefing call and Q&A for Gisha’s supporters to discuss the situation in Gaza, featuring Gisha Field Coordinator Mohammed Azaiza and myself. Register here.