Civil society organisations and public figures have called on the world to demand the opening of the Rafah border crossing. A range of human rights activists are urging ordinary citizens to mobilise themselves go to the local Egyptian Embassy or consulate and demand the Egyptian government opens the Rafah crossing immediately.
The signatories, include former Robben Island inmate and anti-apartheid icon Ahmed Kathrada; former Minister of Intelligence, Ronnie Kasrils, and former Vice President of the European Union, Luisa Morgantini. The campaigners have demanded that the Egyptian government ends its complicity in Israel’s genocide of the people of Gaza.
“To all of you who understand the interconnectedness of our many human struggles for justice and dignity, we implore you to act in solidarity with Palestine as Gaza burns and bleeds, gathers and buries the lifeless bodies of her children, and contends with carnage, despair, and loss for which there is no language,” read a joint statement.
More than 1.8 million human beings have been under a suffocating, deadly siege imposed by Israel and accommodated by the Egyptian government. The blockade severely restricts all movement of people and products coming into the Gaza Strip. It is creating in Gaza what has been described as the biggest open air prison in the world, subject to frequent Israeli attacks as a laboratory to test and market new Israeli weapons.
The average age in Gaza is 17 years, with half under the age of 16. They are a defenseless civilian population, densely packed into this besieged enclave with no place to run or take refuge from Israel’s full-on military onslaught.
“The cynical claims that Palestinians are forcing Israel to kill their children lack the basic requirements of logic and minimal vestiges of humanity. No one is forcing Israel to commit genocide or to target infrastructure like hospitals, schools, and the only power plant in Gaza.
“Purposefully, of their own volition, Israelis are using the most sophisticated death machines against civilians: children, families, medical facilities and aid workers. Meanwhile Israel maintains a violent and brutal aerial, land and sea siege on Gaza, continuous since 2006.”
Despite a call from Egyptian citizens to lift the siege, the Egyptian government who controls one border and has the option to be part of a humanitarian response to the besieged people of Gaza, “has instead supported the Israeli plan for return to the status quo of slow genocide”.
“Many people in Gaza are desperate to avoid slow death by savage siege, hunger and lack of medical care and demand to live like normal human beings, but feel the only option Israel gives them is to die quickly by carpet bombings and wanton mass destruction which Israel now mercilessly executes.”
Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry stated that the Rafah Crossing into Egypt is “open”. He has gone on record saying they receive injured Palestinians daily from Gaza and have passed more than 600 tons of aid through.
However, between the 10th and 27th of July, global activists report that the Egyptian government has allowed an average of just nine wounded people a day to cross the border from Gaza to Egypt to receive medical treatment. Several aid shipments of medical supplies, and even doctors, were denied entry. In light of the actual number of wounded in Gaza, at least 8,100 as of July 31, 2014, the Egyptian government’s allowance is “condemnable”, the signatories said.
“Egypt must help the people of Gaza. The Egyptian government must refuse complicity in Israel’s genocide of a population they hold captive,” the statement continued.
Amongst the local pro-Palestinian groups supporting this call are BDS South Africa, Muslim Judicial Council, Muslim Youth Movement, Palestine Solidarity Alliance, Palestine Solidarity Campaign. They are joined by 65 other Palestinian solidarity organisations from around the world.
Ordinary citizens are urged to get involved by:
– going to the local Egyptian Embassy or consulate and demanding the Egyptian government open Rafah crossing immediately and end its complicity with Israel’s genocide of the people of Gaza.
– Inundate embassy phone-lines/email with messages of protest.
-Write letters to print media holding Egypt complicit, call into radio/tv and create awareness on Facebook and Twitter
– Raise the concerns with members of parliament, members of provincial legislatures and other political representatives.
-Organise protests outside the Egyptian embassy in Pretoria
The Egyptian embassy in Pretoria can be contactedon 012 343-1590 or by fax on 012 343-1082. Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Locals who are getting involved should communiucate their actions and the Embassy’s responses to the Palestine solidarity organisation via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. VOC