Tag Archives: freedom of movement

Palestinians set to export from Gaza via Freedom Flotilla III

Exhibition of Palestinian products which were to be exported aboard Gaza's Ark last year, and which are now waiting for the Freedom Flotilla III to challenge the blockade once again.

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.
Invitation to Gaza's Ark products exhibition, June 6-7-8, in Gaza City.

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 and @GazaArk   
For more information about this event, please contact product exhibitcoordinator for Gaza’s Ark, Awni Farhat at  awnifarhat@hotmail.com  (+972599838447, English, العربية). Regarding the role of Gaza’s Ark in the Freedom Flotilla III, contact David Heap david.heap@gmail.com (+15198593579, English, français, espagnol).
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1417964708527164/

Gaza Access and Movement: 2013 Summary

From Gaza Gateway

Exit of goods from Gaza 2013Israel’s closure of Gaza reached the six year mark. Corresponding with the changes on the Egyptian border, more goods entered Gaza via Kerem Shalom Crossing and more exits were recorded at Erez Crossing, connecting Gaza to Israel and the West Bank. Nonetheless, sweeping and indiscriminate restrictions on travel and on movement of goods between Gaza and the West Bank and Israel remained nearly unchanged in 2013. Criteria for travel of people remained stringent and appear to have been enforced with greater severity, a punishing restriction on entrance of construction materials was introduced late in the year and Israel continued to enforce a ban on the exit of goods from Gaza to its traditional markets in Israel and the West Bank, despite the installment of a new and powerful scanner donated by the Dutch government at the cargo crossing, Kerem Shalom.

Forging new links to boycott movement in Gaza

16th December 2013 | The Electronic Intifada, Joe Catron | Gaza City, Occupied Palestine

(Re-posted from ISM)

The Gaza Strip, now in its seventh year of a comprehensive siege by Israel, has faced increased hardships since the 3 July coup in neighboring Egypt.

On 26 November, the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs warned that the Palestinian enclave “is affected by one of the most serious energy crises in recent years, with potentially serious humanitarian ramifications” (“Gaza fuel crisis situation report”).

On Human Rights Day, remember freedom of movement for Palestinians

rafahclosedBy David Heap

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.

David Heap: London, Ontario teacher-research and father of two, David Heap participated in the 2009-2010 Gaza Freedom March (but did not reach Gaza… that time). A Steering Committee member with the Canadian Boat to Gaza since the campaign began in 2010, he was on board the Tahrir when it was stopped by Greek authorities in July 2011, and again in November 2011 when captured by the Israeli navy. Deported to Canada after six days in Israeli prison, he also joined the Swedish ship to Gaza Estelle for part of its voyage in September 2012, and he visited Gaza in October 2012 with a group of linguist colleagues (including Noam Chomsky). He works with the Gaza’s Ark campaign to challenge the blockade from the inside out.

Israel Refuses Entry Of 120 Trucks Into Gaza

Sunday October 20, 2013 13:45 by IMEMC & Agencies 

Sunday October 20, 2013, the Israeli Authorities refused to allow 120 trucks, loaded with construction material, into the Gaza Strip as they tried to cross through the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) terminal between Gaza and Israel.
File – PNN

International report says collective punishment of Gaza has reached critical stage

Middle East Monitor

slow-death-1Two months after the military coup in Egypt, the Gaza Strip continues to live through the worst shortages of medical equipment and fuel as well as difficulties on movement in and out of the Strip, a report issued by three international organisations said.

EuroMid Observer for Human Rights in cooperation with the Palestinian Return Centre in London (PRC) and Malaysian Consultative Organization (MAPIM) issued the report, 'Slow Death'. The report focused on the negative effects of the siege on Gaza which has led to severe shortages in the Strip.


According to the report, Gaza residents are facing "severe shortages" in their basic needs as well as healthcare equipment and medicines. It also said that all other sectors were suffering serious shortages.

The report said that food and fuel needs can barely be met as the Egyptian army has closed most of the tunnels used to smuggle in essential goods.

The report also explained how the closure of the Rafah crossing by the Egyptians had affected the freedom of movement of Gaza's residents. Thousands of Palestinians and foreigners wanting to leave the Strip as well as thousands wanting to enter face major difficulties because of the closure of the crossing the report said.

Human rights groups to DM Ya’alon: Respect Gaza residents’ right to freedom of movement

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.

Gaza 2013: Snapshot

Posted on 2 June 2013 on Gaza Gateway

Discourse about Gaza tends toward the extremes. If on one end of the spectrum you hear that Gaza is nothing but an “open-air prison”, others will claim that “there is no closure” and that all Israeli-imposed restrictions stem from security considerations. It will soon be six years since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip and Israel tightened access restrictions on the Strip – a good opportunity to provide up-to-date information on the state of affairs.

Building Materials

Israeli crackdown on Palestinian mobility began well before suicide bombings

By Amira Haas – April 1, 2013

The signs that Israel did not mean peace were given from the start, 1995.

Palestinians at the Qalandiyah checkpoint in 2012.

“I didn’t know you were such an empiricist,” a friend told me impatiently, a veteran peace activist with a doctorate, when I insisted at some meeting on specifying the prohibitions on the movement of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

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