Fifty Israeli peace and human rights activists have approached Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, via the Egyptian embassy in Tel Aviv, calling upon him to immediately open the Rafah Border Crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip to free movement of persons and goods, and thus break the siege imposed at the order of Defence Minister Barak, and which is pushing the population of the strip over the edge of humanitarian disaster.
“We saw no choice but to take this step and approach the Egyptians directly. This after the Defence Minister, to whom the option of cutting Gaza’s electricity supplies was for the time being denied, found the horrible substitute of drastically cutting the supply of vital foodstuffs. Those who don’t raise their voices are accomplices. The government of Israel is completely uncaring about the terrible suffering it is causing to a million and half inhabitants of the Strip for whom it is responsible. It also does want to understand what is said by its own military experts: that causing this suffering does not in any way help the people of Sderot – on the contrary, it increases and exacerbates the shooting of Quassam missiles.
We do not accept that the only choices left are to starve the inhabitants of Gaza or to conquer the Strip at the cost of terrible bloodshed. There is another way, the way of mutual ceasefire and negotiations which should include all parts of the Palestinian people” say the initiators of the letter of the fifty.
The full letter is after the jump, I think the activists are involved with Gush Shalom / Peace Now, although this does not appear to be an official move on the organization’s part . I would say this is one occasion for Egyptian and other pro-Palestinian activists to back the Israeli activists’ calls, no matter what their stance on normalization might be. I may be wrong about this having been out of the country most of the summer, but I have heard of little Egyptian activism to get the border open (legitimate security concerns of Egypt notwithstanding).
Below is the full text of the letter sent to Mubarak:
To His Excellency Muhammad Hosni Mubarak
President of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Via The Egyptian Embassy, Tel Aviv
We the undersigned, citizens of the state of Israel – after numerous unsuccessful efforts to address our own government – have decided to take the step of approaching you on the subject of the severe and fast deteriorating situation in the Gaza Strip, and in which you can effect a substantial change.
As you know, the Government of Israel rejects out of hand any possibility of a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, and continually tightens the cruel siege imposed on the Strip’s million and a half inhabitants. This siege completely paralyses economic activity in the Strip and drives its population under the poverty line and to the edge of starvation. The cutting of fuel supplies to the Strip, the closing of the Sufa Crossing, the cutting of foodstuff deliveries and the intention to cut electricity supplies are but the latest in a long series of severe acts of collective punishment. The Israeli public is told that these acts are needed in order to stop the shooting of missiles on the town of Sderot. It is not told that, in the opinion of the Army’s own experts, the punitive acts would only exacerbate the shooting.
This siege could not have been maintained without the consent of Egypt. While arms and ammunition continue to be smuggled from Egyptian territory into the Strip, despite the presence of Egyptian security forces, already for many months the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip is completely sealed and locked to the passage of peaceful civilians and of vital goods needed by the civilian population.
As citizens of the State of Israel, concerned for collective guilt and our future in face of the irresponsible policy undertaken by our government, we call upon you, Mr. President, to do all in your power to help break the siege imposed on the inhabitants on the Gaza Strip: to open the Rafah Border Crossing to a free movement of persons and goods, supply to the inhabitants of Gaza fuel and any other vital need denied them by the Government of Israel, and supply the Gaza Strip with the electricity it needs from the Egypian electrical grid so as to end its dependence on Israel.
If you take this brave and positive act, Your Excellency, all inhabitants of the region will have a reason to thank you – your own Egyptian people, the Palestinians and at last also the Israelis.
Aviv Adashi, Nitzan Aviv, Adv. Amir Badran, Efri Bar, Talma Bar-Din, Yossi Bartal, Naomi Benbassat-Lifshitz, Mor Ben Israel , Judy Blanc, Edna Canetti, Hava Cohen-Keller, Ran Cohen, , Moshe Eliraz, Yitzchak Frankenthal, Eli Kalir, Eva Katz, Uri Katz, Dr. Bareket Shiff Keren, Adam Keller, Nimrod Kerrett, Hanna Knaz, Daniel Lang, Joyce Livingstone, Tamir Magel, Susanne Moses, Rayna Moss, Dorothy Naor, Ofer Neiman, David Nir , Noa Roei, Eddie Saar, Ayelet Senyor, Emily W. Schaeffer, Galia Shapira, Ehud Shem Tov, Gideon Spiro, Dr. Yosefa Sartiel, Michal Sapir, Su Schachter, Yaniv Shahar, Galia Shapira, Sonia Stainfeld, Benny Tavor, Osnat Tavor, Eran Torbiner, Tamar Yaron, Arkadi Yaroslavtsev, Dr. Yael Waldman, Bekah Wolf, Merav Yerushalmy, Amnon Yuval, Uri Zackhem, Beate Zilversmidt, Emanuel Zytner.