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18 Apr, 2015

Majority of British Parliamentary Candidates Agree Israel’s Gaza Blockade Should Go

LONDON, April 16, 2015 (WAFA) – British Candidates standing for election to Parliament in May have shown their support for an immediate lifting of Israel’s blockade of Gaza in an email survey co-ordinated by Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

In a press release, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign affirmed that more than 670 declared candidates from all major parties in England, Scotland and Wales responded to emails sent to them by constituents, asking for their views on justice for the Palestinian people.

Among the questions were those on the situation in Gaza and if candidates agreed that Israel’s ongoing blockade against Gaza should be immediately lifted. A total of 69% of the candidates said yes, with more than 9 out of 10 candidates (91%) supporting the full and immediate lifting of the blockade, or lifting for humanitarian, construction and/or trade purposes.

The lifting of the blockade was one of the terms of the ceasefire signed by Israel and Hamas in August 2014, following a 51 day assault on Gaza. However, more than seven months later, restrictions on the movement of people and goods in and out of the territory remain as tight as ever.

Around 18,000 Palestinian homes were destroyed during the 2014 assault, leaving more than 100,000 people homeless. Israel has prevented the materials necessary for reconstruction to enter Gaza.

UNRWA, the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, shared on social media the fact that “More than 7 months after the ceasefire announcement in Gaza, not a single totally destroyed home has been rebuilt.”

Palestinians who need medical treatment abroad, or who have places to study at overseas universities, are among those who are unable to leave Gaza. Palestinians seeking to return to be reunited with their families also face severe difficulties in crossing closed borders.

Sarah Colborne, Director of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said: “Israel’s blockade of Gaza is recognized as a collective punishment of its 1.8million people by the UN, and is illegal under international law.

“In 2010, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has described Gaza as a prison camp and said the situation must change. Unfortunately the last British government failed to challenge Israel’s blockade, and the situation has only changed for the worse.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign reiterated calls that change must be immediate and the next government must be put pressure on Israel – including sanctions – to end the blockade.

“We hope that the support of Parliamentary candidates for an immediate end to the blockade, as demonstrated in our email survey, will translate into action should they be elected.”