On 9 June 2020, Al-Haq, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), and Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) launched an Action Week on Gaza, which lasted until 14 June, as part of a joint campaign titled: Gaza2020* - Lift the Closure!
As part of the campaign, the organisations launched a blog, which shows how the imposed closure on the Gaza Strip has affected every aspect of life for two million Palestinians. The main page of the blog contains a historical overview, providing the reader with background information, and a section outlining health and healthcare in the Gaza Strip, showcasing how patients from Gaza are severely affected by the closure, which amounts to collective punishment, as a result of a bureaucratic Israeli permit regime the World Health Organization (WHO) has said is “neither transparent nor timely.”
The campaign, and in particular the Gaza Action Week, included social media engagement on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to call for the illegal closure of Gaza to be lifted and highlight its detrimental impacts on the rights of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. The social media posts, which were published in Arabic and English, shared statics and information on the effects of the closure, but also personal stories and statements from Palestinians who endured human rights violations, as provided by Al-Haq’s affidavits.
As a call for action, the campaign urged individuals around the world to raise their voice and to sign an online petition, calling for the closure to be lifted. As of the time of writing, 1,546 individuals have signed the petition during the Gaza Action Week, which calls for an end to the closure and for justice and accountability. The petition will remain open for individual signatures until the end of the year as part of the Gaza2020 campaign.
The campaign also circulated an sign on form for civil society organisations to endorse a joint oral intervention that will be delivered under Item 7 of the 43rd Regular Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council this June 2020, which marks 53 years of Israeli military occupation and 13 years since the start of the Gaza closure. The joint oral intervention also calls for the Gaza closure to be lifted, for third States to live up their responsibility, and for an end to Israeli impunity.
In calling for root causes to be addressed, the campaign has highlighted that all aspects of life in the Gaza Strip have been undermined by Israel’s illegal closure. Since 2012, the United Nations has repeatedly warned that Gaza would become unliveable by 2020 should Israel fail to lift its illegal closure, which has severely deprived Palestinians of the ability to exercise their individual and collective rights. The campaign calls for the illegal closure to be lifted and for an end to Israel’s impunity.
During a time of a global pandemic, two million Palestinians live in one of the world’s most densely populated areas, facing profound levels of poverty, food insecurity and regular Israeli military attacks. Only 4 per cent of water is fit for human use and consumption, and sanitation services are limited. Gaza’s healthcare system faced collapse even before the COVID-19 pandemic and patients in need of lifesaving treatment outside Gaza face a maze of opaque rules and barriers to access healthcare. As the world continues to respond to COVID-19, Palestinians in Gaza are particularly susceptible to the pandemic due to overcrowding, the inability to access adequate water and sanitation, and a healthcare system crippled by successive Israeli military assaults and years of structural violence that deny Palestinians their basic human rights, with impunity.
The Gaza Action Week may be over but the Gaza2020 campaign continues. Add your voice to our urgent calls for the Gaza closure to be lifted. Join us by signing the petition as an individual or joining the oral intervention to the Human Rights Council by 5pm Palestine time today, 15 June 2020, as an organization, and read more about how Israel’s illegal closure has undermined all aspects of life in Gaza on our campaign blog.