Representatives Jim McDermott and Keith Ellison were joined by fifty-two other members of the U.S. Congress, and five American Jewish, American Arab and interfaith organizations, including HCEF, in addressing a letter to President Obama on the severe humanitarian situation in Gaza. The blockade by Israel of the Gaza Strip results in a de facto collective punishment of the population in contravention to international laws and UN resolutions.
The humanitarian conditions in Gaza have taken a critical turn for the worst since the Israeli-Gaza War code named Operation Cast Lead at the beginning of 2009. The conflict resulted in over 1400 deaths among the Gaza refugees. The majority were non-combatants. Thousands of them are suffering horrible wounds from this war. The blockade has prevented effective international efforts to relieve this suffering. All basic materials, even window glass, to repair the tens of thousands of homes destroyed or severely damaged in the war have been blocked.
The letter to the President advocates the following:
§ Movement of people, especially students, the ill, aid workers, journalists, and those with family concerns, into and out of Gaza;
§ Access to clean water, including water infrastructure materials,
§ Access to plentiful and varied food and agricultural materials;
§ Access to medicine and health care products and suppliers;
§ Access to sanitation supplies, including sanitation infrastructure materials;
§ Access to construction materials for repairs and rebuilding;
§ Access to fuel;
§ Access to spare parts;
§ Prompt passage into and out of Gaza for commercial and agricultural goods; and
§ Publication and review of the list of items prohibited to the people of Gaza.
The authors of the letter state that the humanitarian and political consequences of continuing the status quo would be disastrous. They conclude that “the people of Gaza, along with all the peoples of the region, must see that the United States is dedicated to addressing the legitimate security needs of the State of Israel and to ensuring that the legitimate needs of the Palestinian population are met.”
In joining the endorsers of this appeal, Rateb Rabie, HCEF President/CEO said, “We see in these suffering families of Gaza the naked, the hungry, the imprisoned of whom our blessed Lord spoke two thousand years ago in these same sacred lands. It is incumbent on all Christians here and abroad and indeed all people of good will regardless of faith to heed this cry for help by those who desperately need our help. HCEF always supports humanitarian efforts for the relief of suffering people.”
HCEF is working vigorously with members of Congress and the endorsing organizations to mobilize support to relieve the suffering in Gaza. HCEF is confident that, when fully apprised of the human tragedy in Gaza, the generosity and decency of the American public will support such initiatives.
Click here to read the letter in its entirety