Amnesty International USA Washington, DC Chapter Message Board › Iftar Gaza Discussion Notes
From Our members present at Iftar Discussion on Gaza
Curt Curring's Presentation on the Gaza Strip
Gaza isunder a 4 year bockade. It is almost completel closed off from the outside world. People who want to leave for meical reasons are often aske to become informants in return or are interrogated. Land confiscation and house demolitions still occur. More than half of Palestine juveniles have never seen the outside of Gaza. There are about 1.5 million people live in Gaza. The No- Go Zone is in the Mediterranean and is overfished. The Buffer Zone is 17% of Gaza, which is 3 km, and no-man's-land. It used to be agriculturally vauable.
The blockade has been relaxed after the flotilla incident on My 31st. Onl 40-50 items are allowed to enter the Gaza Strip. Factories and industries ( 95% of them) are difunctional. There are 100s of tunnels used fr smuggling goods from Egypt, like food, animals and weapons. This is what really keeps the population alive. Smuggled goods are exensive and most Palestinians can't afford them. It is a desperately poor population.
0.1 million are refugees and 400,000 are native Gazans. The employment and main source of income is from the government. The Palestinians are forced to work in the dangerous Buffer Zone. Mostly children work seperating concrete from the reinforcement wall. Anyone seen in the Buffer Zone is shot on sight (3 to 4 times a week), but are trying to support about 10 of his/ her family members.
There isn't muh violence and education is stilll valued (6-12 year olds). However, school supplies aren't alowed into Gaza, but some of the policies have been relaxed. The new policy is that all food is allowed as well as some more uxurious goods.
The blockade was imposed after Hamas won the free elections in 2006. They attacked Israelis and kidnapped a soldier. The Fetah were thown out of Gaza, which was considered hostile territory.
There have been violations of human rights to food and water. There are arbitrary arrests and shootings. The local authorities (Hamas) and Israeli soldiers are sometimes violent agaisnt women.
U.N. agreed to train both the Hamas and pre-Hamas government human right and the Code of Conduct. The U.N. trains Hamas through workshops and sessions. Hamas is percieved as more efficient and less corrupt though there were house demolitioins civillians weren't notified about (200 families were displaced) and so there were a lot of outrages. There has been an increase in brtality by security forces, which angers the U.N. becuase they are responsible for the maintenance of the strip.
The Flotilla Incident- there was a lot of advanced publicty starting from when the flotilla got held up in Cyprus. The Palestinians were jubilant and they even cleaned the harbour to make it presentable for the flotilla. It was a serious let-down when it was raided. Turkish flags were everywhere. Thre was a march and a vigil led by women and children
Weapons are being used aganst Gazans-white phosphorous, for example, which is a banned product, is used in civillan areas. Human Rights issues aren't taken that seriously there.
The Global economic crisis- countries can't fund the U.N., so te U.N. doesn't have the funds to help the Gazans. There aren't enough relief supplies.