Palestinian and Jewish Organizations and activists in Israel welcome the Freedom Flotilla and call to end the siege on Gaza

We, Palestinian and Jewish organizations and activists in Israel, oppose the Israeli policy of ongoing human rights violations, a policy that seeks to maintain its control through the siege that is strangulating the Palestinian people. The siege undermines the development of an independent economy and keeps Gazans under occupation, dependent on Israel for their most basic humanitarian needs. We support the struggle to end the occupation in the Palestinian territories, as well as the besieged Gaza strip. We support international solidarity, including the Gaza flotilla.

We are concerned with the humanitarian condition in the Gaza strip, which is under a harsh siege since 2007. In Gaza, more than 70% of the population relies on humanitarian aid; On the eve of “Protective Edge” military attack on Gaza, 57% of the population suffered from food insecurity; The unemployment rate was 42.8% in the 4th quarter of 2014 (compared to 18.7% in 2000); 27 government schools in Gaza were heavily damaged or destroyed during the bombing this summer ; Even before the military operation, the Strip was short over 200 schools, including 150 government schools; Classes are usually taught in two shifts; Israel doesn’t allow the building of a port in Gaza and places severe restrictions on Palestinian fishing boats.

More than 100,000 housing units were damaged during the recent hostilities, including 17,000 housing units which were severely damaged or destroyed; Some 562 factories and workshops were damaged or destroyed during the hostilities.

More than 2000 people lost their lives during the last military attack on Gaza in summer of 2014

We call upon the Israeli government not to prevent the ships from reaching the shore and demand that you refrain from any assault on the ships. We have witnessed an increasingly belligerent tone among Israeli officials, against the flotilla mission and the people on board, amongst them Europeans parliament members as well as the Israeli MK Bassel Ghattas.

We call upon the Israeli media to stop serving as a mouthpiece for the government and Israeli army and start revealing the reality of the flotilla to the public.

The activists on board have declared that they are coming to the region on a peaceful mission to uphold the human rights of the people in Gaza. The organizers of the freedom flotilla have already declared they are conducting trainings for Non-violent actions in case of violent attack on the ship. Nonetheless, Israel brags of its preparations to take over the ship.

It’s time that the international community will demand an end to the siege
The freedom flotillas to Gaza, as well as other solidarity actions, will continue as long as the siege is in place and Palestinian rights to liberty and life in dignity are denied!

The letter is signed by 75 people and seven organizations:
Physicians for Human Rights – Israel
Coalition of Women for Peace
Women Against Violence
Gush Shalom
Alternative Information Center