In the Gaza Strip one and a half million people virtually live under siege, behind barbed wire and without a chance to escape this prison camp. The living conditions are unbearable due to a severe shortage of food, medicine and clean water, strictly limited power supply and worsening hygienic conditions. Despite this situation the blockade of the Gaza Strip is tightened and the Israeli Army is launching military actions and bombardments on an almost daily basis. Those who have to suffer are the civilians.

This political and military strategy must be seen as what it is – a crime against humanity.

The tragedy started in January 2006 when Hamas won the elections. As a consequence, the sporadic blockades of the Gaza Strip were replaced by a permanent embargo imposed by Israel, the EU and the USA. At the same time Israel confiscated the customs duties the Palestinian authorities are entitled to receive, the USA and the EU froze their financial aid to the Palestinian government, thus causing the humanitarian crisis.

The international community’s taking sides in the internal political conflicts between Hamas and Fatah contributed to the escalation which resulted in a civil war. After the armed conflicts in June 2007, the USA and the EU supported the proclamation of a new government alongside and against the government elected in the democratic elections in January 2006. They lifted the sanctions in the areas controlled by the new government and maintained those against the Gaza Strip. In December 2007, the international community decided for massive financial aid for the new government. Formally, the whole area under Palestinian governmental control is included, practically however, the Gaza Strip is excluded from any relief programmes for political reasons. The Gaza Strip is choked to death – the victims are the civilian population.

Targeting civilians – men, women and children – cannot be tolerated!

Therefore we urgently ask the Austrian government and the European Union to act in order to relieve the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

First of all, this means lifting the embargo against the Gaza Strip and putting an end to the policy of double standards which has led to a situation where the people in the West Bank are provided with essential goods and services whereas those are denied to the people in the Gaza Strip.

Secondly, it implies demanding that the military siege of the Gaza Strip must come to a stop and providing the people with staple goods for survival.

Thirdly, the government elected by the people in the elections of 2006 must be respected as the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people at the negotiating table.

The appeal “GAZA SHALL LIVE” is endorsed by: