In solidarity with the Palestinian people in Gaza and the rest of Palestine, La Via Campesina’s Arab and North Africa region is calling for the immediate lifting of the brutal blockade.
As on June 14 2020, thirteen years have gone by since the Israeli occupation first imposed this brutal blockade on our brave people in the Gaza Strip. In this period, 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza have lived in a virtual prison, under the weight of a land, sea, and air blockade. The complete closure of the Gaza Strip has paralysed the movement of people and impeded the circulation of goods, fuel, and medical supplies. By preventing fisherpeople and farmers from going about their daily work and by making them the targets of its criminal army, the occupying power continues to cause starvation among the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip.
Throughout the years of the blockade, the occupying power has acted with unrestrained arrogance. It has killed thousands of children, women, elderly, and men in the Gaza Strip by bombing homes, hospitals, and schools. They have even targeted the United Nations relief agency for Palestine and attacked ships with humanitarian supplies from all over the world. All this has happened under the full flare of the international community, and the successive governments in the United States have been complicit in carrying out these actions.
This blockade has resulted in a poverty rate of over 65%. It has led to alarming levels of food insecurity(72%) and created a dizzying rise in unemployment, which now stands at 43%. The dispossession and alienation of a population do not end there. There is a 40% shortage of medications. Four in every five factories have shut down. This brutal blockade has destroyed nearly 70% of houses and over 80% of farmland and crops.
In this context, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees has documented hundreds of acts of aggression targeting farmers, fisherpeople and threatening the viability of agriculture in Gaza. The Israeli army has opened fire on peasants, poisoned crops with chemicals, drowned fields by opening dams, destroyed boats and confiscated the equipment of fisherpeople.
Despite the effects of these attacks and the blockade, the farmers and fisherpeople of Gaza continue to resist. They bravely defy the colonisers and is making the provision of food for the Palestinian people their priority.
La Via Campesina’s Arab and North African region considers the continuation of the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip to be in and of itself a crime against humanity, one to which can be applied the terms of apartheid, war crimes, and genocide.
For this reason:
• We are calling for the immediate lifting of the brutal blockade. We believe that the main objective of this blockade is to bring an end to the liberation struggle of the Palestinian people, and, by starving and impoverishing them, destroying their economy and fragmenting their social and political structure. The blockade intends to drive the people of Palestine to a slow death. Thanks to the resistance and courage of our people in Gaza, this has not happened, and it will not happen.
• We remind the whole world of the suffering of the people of Palestine under the occupation. We call upon the peoples and countries of the world to show real and active solidarity with the Palestinian people. Denounce the crimes against humanity perpetrated against them. One of the most effective means of showing solidarity and of supporting the Palestinian people is the economic boycott, the refusal to buy products, including agricultural products, from the occupying power.
• We reaffirm our struggle to defend the rights of the Palestinian people to their land and the creation of their independent State. We support their brave resistance to the deadly and destructive Israeli war machine. We categorically reject the agreements such as the ‘Deal of the Century’ drafted behind closed doors without consultation with those whose rights are in question and with the support of the imperialist governments and the reactionary governments of the region, to negate the Palestinian cause.
• We pay tribute to the global solidarity movement that is standing beside Palestinians supporting their just cause and their right to sovereignty over their land and natural resources. We call for continuous pressure to condemn and delegitimise the occupation, boycott its economy, and bring it before the international tribunals to answer for its historical crimes. Our tribute to the people in our region, who have rejected any form of normalisation, for decades. We warn and alert them against the latter’s repeated attempts – with the backing of dubious lobbies and the reactionary governments of the region – to undermine their position.
• We support the struggles of Palestinian farmers, fisherpeople, and farmworkers. We are calling for this support to be sustained until there is full recognition of the national rights of Palestinians and until social and economic justice becomes a reality for peasants, fisherpeople and farmworkers. We continue to insist upon the need for an international day of solidarity with Palestinian farmers and fisherpeople.
• We declare our solidarity with all of the peoples subjected to blockades everywhere. To all of the people in Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and elsewhere, who are living under the weight of economic sanctions by the United States, we offer our solidarity.
• We pay tribute to our comrades in the Union of Agricultural Work Committees and to the movement of Palestinian peasants who are struggling for food sovereignty, peace, and justice in Palestine and the Arab and North Africa region.
Long live a Palestine that is free and independent. Long live the peasant struggle all over the world.
(This press note was released by the Arab and North Africa region of La Via Campesina on June 14, 2020)