The catastrophe facing the Palestinian people is a defining global justice issue of our time. It is not an intractable conflict between two equal sides. It is an Occupation by a powerful military state, armed and supported by the West, against an impoverished, stateless and displaced people.
A fourth generation of Palestinian children is now being brought up in refugee camps inside and outside Palestine, living in chronic poverty and denied the right to return to their family homes.
Hundreds of thousands more Palestinians suffer discrimination over access to public services, land rights and employment within Israel itself.
Israel’s siege of Gaza has condemned its 1.9 million inhabitants to poverty and psychological violence on a daily basis as movement is restricted and there is an ever present threat of military force.
In the West Bank, the expansion of Israeli settlements, the continued construction of the Apartheid Wall, the military closure of the Jordan Valley and the annexation of East Jerusalem are creating an irreversible reality of permanent Occupation.
This brutal Occupation, the building of the Apartheid Wall and ongoing military oppression can only be continued with the support of countries and companies that continue to back Israel through business and investment.
UK banks and financial institutions hold billions of pounds worth of shares in companies that sell weapons, military equipment and technology to Israel. We can’t allow banks on our high streets to continue lending support to Israel’s militarised repression of Palestinians. Stay tuned for our new report and campaign focused on the role played by HSBC in financing the sale of weapons to Israel. Take action.
The UK government is complicit in Israel’s continuing violations of human rights and international law. By purchasing arms from and selling arms to Israel, the UK government is giving direct material support for Israel’s aggression and sending a clear message of approval for its actions.Take action.
Palestinian authorities reportedly arrested Amro, an activist with Youth Against Settlements, for criticizing the PA in a Facebook post. Amro, who is also facing charges in Israeli military court for his political activism, has been recognized by the EU and UN as a human rights defender.
Palestinian nonviolent activist Issa Amro. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)
Palestinian security forces arrested human rights defender and well-known Palestinian activist Issa Amro in the West Bank city of Hebron on Monday. The arrest was reportedly related to a Facebook post published by Amro, in which he criticized the Palestinian Authority for arresting a journalist a day earlier.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recently signed an “Electronic Crimes” decree, effectively curtailing the little free speech that existed for Palestinians under Palestinian law, and which was believed to target online dissent against the PA, particularly on social media. The new law was roundly criticized by rights groups in Palestine and around the world. Israel also regularly arrests Palestinians for posts on social media.
The Palestinian Preventative Security Service (PSS) summoned Amro, who has been declared a “human rights defender” by the EU and UN, for interrogation about his critical Facebook post on Monday and arrested him at midday.
"They have power cuts four or five times every day, which means we lose at least 1 hour of production."
At our factory, we produce plastic pipes for use in agricultural irrigation and construction using recycled plastic. Production depends on a regular supply of electricity. It takes two hours for the machines we use to heat up to the temperature needed to start production. Once they are heated, we can use them for at least 24 hours nonstop if we have power. But in the current situation, we only have eight hours of electricity at most each day, meaning we can’t produce our product for more than six hours per day.
And the power supply is also uneven. Although we are supposed to have eight hours of power each day, the power often goes off for 30 minutes, one hour, or two hours during that period. When the power goes off, we lose some of the product we are producing, and it takes 15 minutes to switch to a generator and reheat the equipment so we can restart production.
They have power cuts four or five times every day, which means we lose at least one hour of production due to power cuts. We can therefore only produce goods for three or four hours every day because there is no regular electrical supply.
Businesses can’t function without reliable electricity, increasing unemployment & destabilizing the economy.
Gaza’s power system is at risk of collapse. In 2006, the Israeli military bombed Gaza’s only power plant, destroying its six transformers. Under the blockade, the power plant can’t import parts to replace damaged components. Temporary fixes have allowed the plant to function at a minimal level, but those solutions were never made to last.
Other factors have exacerbated the power crisis, including a halt in smuggled fuel from Egypt in 2013, the destruction of fuel storage tanks and other structures at the plant by Israeli airstrikes in 2014, and the destruction of infrastructure and distribution networks throughout Gaza. Since April 2017, the Gaza power plant has been offline due to limited fuel imports, further limiting electricity in Gaza.
While Gaza’s electrical grid is linked with the Israeli system, Israel limits how much power it sells to Gaza, and existing power lines can only supply a fraction of Gaza’s total needs.
Today, less than one-third of Gaza’s electricity demand is being met. Rolling blackouts leave Palestinians in Gaza with less than four hours of electricity per day—affecting the health and well-being of residents; jeopardizing critical services, such as hospitals, schools, and water sanitation; and making it impossible for businesses to function.
Ending the blockade is crucial to address the power crisis, but it will not improve the situation immediately. Even if new parts could be imported and additional infrastructure could be built, it would take up to five years for the system to reach a point where current needs could be met.
People in Gaza have no more than 4 hours of electricity per day.
The legislation, already a key priority for the Israel lobby group AIPAC, has faced stiffer than usual resistance in Congress after the American Civil Liberties Union denounced it as an unconstitutional attack on free speech rights.
Violating First Amendment
Justifying the legislation, the Anti-Defamation League is claiming that the Israel Anti-Boycott Act “is not intended to limit the First Amendment rights of US individuals and companies who want to criticize Israel or penalize those who want to refuse to do business with Israel based on their own personal convictions.”
But the ACLU was quick to reject this assertion, tweeting, “ ‘Not intended’ to violate the First Amendment is not good enough. The Israel Anti-Boycott Act does just that.”
Without electricity sewage goes untreated into the sea. Water doesn’t get pumped to high rise apartments or rural areas. Everything has to be done in the dark — cooking, eating, caring for babies and those who are sick or old. Food rots in refrigerators. No fans cool the stifling Gaza summer heat. Children can’t read, and students can’t study. Candles have caused death and injury in tragic house fires. Hospital and home health equipment can’t function.
While only an end to the Israeli occupation and blockade can provide a lasting solution, in the meantime you can help us ameliorate the suffering of poor families in Rafah.
Madison-Rafah Sister City Project is once again partnering with the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) to provide families in Rafah with a “Gaza Lights” unit — a rechargeable household system created by a team of volunteer Gaza engineers that takes advantage of the short hours of electrical service to charge a battery, which can then power lights, fans and phones for twelve hours.
These “Gaza Lights” systems will be produced quickly in Gaza and distributed to needy families by MECA and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees.
Amal and the Sketch Engineering Team assemble Gaza Lights systems