End the Gaza blockade now!

MEDIA RELEASE

Thursday, 3 June 2010

 

If there is one lesson to be learnt after the tragic deaths of innocent people in the “Free Gaza” peace flotilla, it is that the blockade of Gaza should be lifted immediately, say the Australian Democrats.

Spokesperson, Sandra Kanck, says that the world condemnation now needs to be directed to a positive outcome.

“There would have been no need for the peace flotilla in the first instance if Israel did not have Gaza cut off.

“As the disaster unfolded, Israel’s Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, said there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza, a claim which is damned by the facts.

“The United Nations, which has an ongoing presence in Gaza, is quite clear that the three year long blockade has had a seriously detrimental humanitarian impact.

“Livelihoods have been destroyed, with unemployment at more than 40%; the fishing fleet is prevented from going out to sea; daily electricity blackouts of between 4-8 hours occur because of the limited amount of fuel oil allowed across the border by Israel, which is counterproductive for the economy.

“The lack of material to maintain the water infrastructure in combination with the power blackouts sees 80 megalitres of raw and treated sewage released each day to the sea or leaking into aquifers. The consequence is that only 5-10% of water in aquifers meets WHO standards.

“Again, according to the UN, between 70 and 80% of the population of Gaza is now living in poverty, with many of them experiencing what is termed food insecurity, a new word for hunger.

“Israel now demands that aid in containers must be delivered on palettes, resulting in $1.5m of aid money having to be diverted to repackaging.

“UN staff advise that they are spending thousands of hours merely negotiating with the IDF to get permission to send material into Gaza.

“The facts speak for themselves, and the Australian Democrats call on the Australian Government to actively work for a lifting of the blockade,” said Ms Kanck.

Further comment: Sandra Kanck 08 8336 4114 (or 0417882143)

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