February 10 2008: IAW – End the Siege of Gaza!

STOP THE SIEGE OF GAZA!

Rally Against Israeli Apartheid
Sunday, February 10th at 3pm
Vancouver Art Gallery

Part of international events for Israel Apartheid Week: http://apartheidweek.org/

For over two years, the Canadian government has been a staunch supporter of a comprehensive siege and sanctions regime against the Gaza Strip. In response to the Palestinian elections in January 2006, Israel has pursued a policy of collective punishment against the 1.5 million residents of Gaza, severely restricting all shipments of food, medical supplies, fuel, and humanitarian aid in an effort to pressure Gazans to bring down their elected government.

On January 23rd, Palestinians brought down the 11 km border wall separating Gaza and Egypt, providing temporary reprieve to over 700,000 people who crossed into Egypt in defiance of the blockade to stock up on basic supplies.

With control of the Gaza/Egypt border now re-established and all crossings into Israel  sealed, Palestinians are preparing for a new wave of fuel cuts and the continuation of Israel’s policy of collective punishment and economic strangulation, now entering its third year.

In the words of UN Special Rapporteur John Dugard, “Gaza has become a besieged and imprisoned territory as a result of the economic sanctions imposed by Israel and the West…. This has produced a humanitarian crisis, one carefully managed by Israel, which punishes the people of Gaza without ringing alarm bells in the West. It is a controlled strangulation that seriously violates norms of human rights law and humanitarian law but which apparently falls within the generous limits of international toleration.”

Over the past few weeks, the siege has escalated to unprecedented levels: the only power plant in Gaza was forced to shut down in response to fuel shortages, plunging the entire Strip into darkness and causing sewage pumps to back-up and flood the streets. Hospitals were forced to shut-down vital equipment, and patients in need of emergency medical treatment were denied exit permits. With 80% of the population dependent on food aid, the United Nations has warned of widespread malnutrition as convoys of aid continue to be denied entry into Gaza. More than half of Gaza’s residents have running water for only 4-6 hours per day. Meanwhile, air strikes by the Israeli military continue against the imprisoned population of Gaza, killing 44 people in a single week in January. This bring the total number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces to over 1000 in the last two years.

Throughout this siege, the Canadian government has provided political and diplomatic support to Israel’s policy of strangulation, and spearheaded the economic sanctions by Western governments that have directly contributed to widespread shortages of food, fuel and medicines.

On February 10th we will be taking part in international events organized for Israel Apartheid Week by rallying to demand an end to Canada’s complicity in the siege of Gaza and Israel’s ongoing oppression and displacement of the Palestinian people.

Organized by the Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign. For more
information, call 604-682-3269 ext. 7786 or email
boycottapartheid[at]gmail.com.

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