Half million sign petition to end Israel’s Gaza blockade


TEL AVIV (JTA) — More than half a million people have signed a petition to end Israel’s blockade of Gaza, within one day after it was posted.

The petition, posted Wednesday on political activism website Avaaz, calls for an end to the blockade in order to enable the reconstruction of Gaza. Some 2,200 Palestinians and 73 Israelis died in the war, which also destroyed 18,000 homes. None have been rebuilt yet, with money going only to repairing damaged homes.

Construction has moved slowly because pledged donations have been slow in arriving, and, according to international aid organizations, because of delays due to Israel and Egypt closing off Gaza’s borders. But the petition lays the blame principally on Israel.

“Palestinian political parties have failed to reconcile and prioritise reconstruction, and Egypt’s closure of its border has further limited supplies entering Gaza,” the petition says. “The principal obstacle to reconstruction is Israel’s blockade.”

The petition, which has been signed by human rights organizations including Oxfam, calls on the international community to pressure Israel to end the blockade.

“Our governments have already pledged to rebuild Gaza, and called on the government of Israel to lift the blockade,” it says. “If we now show them that people everywhere want urgent action to stop this injustice, they are more likely to insist the Israeli government stop hindering reconstruction.”

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