Tag Archives: freedom of movement
Exhibition of Gaza's Ark products from all of Palestine, for export by Freedom Flotilla
Gaza City June 6-8.
When Gaza's Ark was destroyed during last year’s attack on Gaza by Israel, we all lost a boat intended to break the blockade “from the inside out". But our goal of helping to build a sovereign Palestinian economy based on freedom of movement has not changed. Palestinian products from both Gaza and the West Bank were to be exported not only as a symbolic stimulus to the Palestinian economy but to show the world the industrious work of craftspeople and farmers who continue to struggle against the overwhelming odds of occupation, economic strangulation and war.
The Freedom Flotilla Coalition is now on its way to once again challenge the blockade of Gaza. The remaining goods that were to be exported by Gaza’s Ark are now to form part of the export cargo of the Freedom Flotilla when it reaches Gaza. To showcase these goods and highlight exactly what Israel was trying to stop by destroying Gaza’s Ark, Palestinian producers organizations are participating in an exhibition of export goods at the Red Crescent Hall (near Al Azhar University) in Gaza City, from June 6th to 8th, 11am to 6pm.
Sameera Qarmout, from one of the producers’ organizations at the exhibit, says: "Before it was attacked, we had the hope that our embroideries would be exported aboard Gaza's Ark. The coming Freedom Flotilla III has given us a light of new hope that our products will still be made available to world markets." The exhibit includes goods from Palestinian producers in Gaza as well as goods from West Bank producers that reached Gaza in spite of the Israeli Occupier’s restrictions: embroidery, wood carvings and olive oil.
Watch this video to both see some of the products that Israel barred from export and to hear first hand from Palestinians about what these goods mean to them. One of the West Bank artisans whose products are at the exhibition in Gaza stated: “My dream is to go to Gaza… we can go all over the world but we can’t go to Gaza – which says a lot about the situation”. This exhibition not only shows the world the tragedy of the ongoing separation of the Palestinian people imposed by Israeli policies in the occupied territories – in direct contravention of the Oslo accords – but also fosters connection between producers in the West Bank, Gaza and their customers around the world.
Organizations and individuals in Australia, North America and Europe purchased over $24 000 USD worth of Palestinian export goods via Gaza’s Ark, and new orders are still being placed, showing the confidence people have in the need for a Palestinian economy. Peter Downey (Chair, Bethlehem B&NES Links Ltd., Bath, England) adds: “We have bought goods from West Bank artisans as samples for a potential distributor of their products in the UK and Europe. This new sea route will be far less expensive than the courier system to which we are subject currently. It is vital for the economic development of the Palestinian State that there are trade routes by which they can export their goods."
The Israeli military did not just target Gaza’s Ark. It targeted the hope that Palestinians have for an economy based on their right to export their products from their own port, independently of the occupying power. As the Freedom Flotilla III as it sets its sights on economic freedom and social justice for the 1.8 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, follow our progress athttps://freedomflotilla.org/ and https://shiptogaza.se/en, and on Twitter:@CanadaBoatGaza @GazaFFlotilla @ShiptoGazaSE
For more information about this event, please contact product exhibitcoordinator for Gaza’s Ark, Awni Farhat at firstname.lastname@example.org (+
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.
16th December 2013 | The Electronic Intifada, Joe Catron | Gaza City, Occupied Palestine
(Re-posted from ISM)
10 December 2013
When I finally entered the Gaza Strip on October 18, 2012, I wept. The trip across the Sinai and the crossing at the Rafah border between Egypt and Gaza (as described in detail by my colleagues Máire Noonan and Verena Stresing) seemed long and fraught. This was my fourth attempt to reach Gaza, so it was emotional for me to finally arrive. We were there for a linguistics conference, and had the opportunity to meet some wonderful young people who were thirsting for contact with the outside world. We felt lucky to be able to travel there and meet them, and to enjoy some legendary Palestinian hospitality.
Our timing was indeed very lucky: the same trip a year later would be impossible, since the Egyptian military has since closed down that crossing.
Since the July 2012 coup and the Egyptian military's xenophobic scapegoating of Palestinians, the crackdown at the Rafah crossing has become brutal. The stories of individuals unable to cross are heartbreaking: students losing their academic year and in some cases scholarships because they cannot enroll, sick patients suffering because they cannot reach needed treatments, families kept apart, and worse. The systemic effects are even worse, as lack of fuel limits electricity supplies, which in turn means failure of critical infrastructure: kids wading through sewage on the way to school and having to study by candle-light while hospitals are unable to keep life-saving equipment powered up.
These increasingly unlivable conditions in Gaza are an unnatural human disaster, and entirely preventable. The Israeli blockade and the Egyptian enforcement of it on one side are both political choices by governments that subject Palestinian civilians in Gaza to miserable conditions for political motives. These political choices are in turn enabled by the complicit silence of the governments we elect. So the Palestinians in Gaza know that they cannot depend on governments, only on international civil society — people of conscience the world over — to draw attention on their plight.
For some years I have been working with civil society groups opposing the blockade of Gaza. But you don't have to join our grassroots direct actions in person to support our efforts to challenge the blockade, or join the more than 10 000 people worldwide who have signed a petition initiated by young Palestinians in Gaza calling for the complete opening of the Rafah border in both directions. As an educator, I can't help thinking about the young Palestinians we met in Gaza. Depriving them of freedom of movement means condemning them to a future without hope: if we allow that, we can hardly be surprised if some of them turn to hopeless actions.
Personal emotional responses aside, my ability to travel to Gaza is of course not the real issue. What is really at stake here is one of the basic human rights that the occupation deprives Palestinians of on a regular basis: the right to travel about their land, to leave and return to their country. Freedom of movement, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is fundamental for everything from education and health care to the ability to earn a living and see your family.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay says the Israeli blockade on Gaza and restrictions on freedom of movement throughout Palestine amount to collective punishment, a violation of fundamental human rights. On Human Rights Day (or any other day), you can learn more about lack of freedom of movement imposed on the West Bank Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh by the same occupation, its effect on people's livelihoods as well as what you can do to about it in this Write for Rights action featured by Amnesty International. Although the situations vary in different parts of Palestine, the overarching violation of the right of freedom of movement is a constant of the occupation.
July 22, 2013. A group of Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations wrote to Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Monday demanding Israel take action to allow Gaza residents affected by the new restrictions at Rafah Crossing to exit and enter Gaza.
Recent turmoil in Egypt has brought new restrictions on passage via Rafah Crossing. Since July 1, exit via Rafah has been reduced to less than one third its usual scope. As a result, more than 10,000 people are stranded in Gaza. An unknown number of others cannot exercise their basic human right to return to their homes, and they are unduly paying for involuntary stays in airports and hotels in foreign countries.
By Amira Haas – April 1, 2013
The signs that Israel did not mean peace were given from the start, 1995.
That was in 1995, and he thought I didn’t see the big picture, the positive direction, the vision, the beat of the wings of history, and instead was merely insisting on going into detail, into temporary malfunctions. He wasn’t alone in thinking that. One of my editors at the time told me I lacked perspective because I lived in Gaza, and so my reports looked the way they did. In short, wearisome.
Palestinians at the Qalandiyah checkpoint in 2012. Photo by Michal Fattal