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press release
Date of issue: 12 September 2013
For immediate release
Parliamentarians call for Egypt Authorities to stop assisting the blockade of Gaza
Six Parliamentarians from three political parties have today (Thursday 12th September 2013) urged the Egyptian Ambassador to halt the destruction of tunnels until they have secured access via the official crossings that are able to meet demand within Gaza.
MPs Jeremy Corbyn, Mark Durkan, Sir Bob Russell, Andy Slaughter and Sarah Teather, along with independent Peer, Baroness Jenny Tonge have written to the Egyptian Ambassador to express their alarm at the deteriorating situation.
Jeremy Corbyn MP said
“By destroying the tunnels whilst closing the crossings, the Egyptian authorities are helping to make an already dire humanitarian disaster even worse. The people living in the occupied Palestinian territory of Gaza, are just normal people trying to live their lives and being stopped at every time by their occupier and their occupier’s neighbour.”
Sarah Colborne, from Palestine Solidarity Campaign, who helped coordinate the letter, said


“The suffering of 1.6 million Palestinians in Gaza is exacerbated by the Egyptian authorities role in aiding Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza. We are calling on the Egyptian authorities to open the borders now, and allow Palestinians in Gaza the rights that we all take for granted – free movement and trade, the right to food, clean water and medicines. The siege has lasted more than 6 years. That is 6 years too many, and it must end now.”
notes for the editor
1. The Parliamentarians wrote:
Dear Ambassador
We are alarmed at reports of the Egyptian Authorities demolishing more than 350 tunnels at Rafah. Although these tunnels are dangerous for those working in them, these are relied on by Palestinians living in Gaza to access essential goods which are not available or not available in sufficient supply through official crossings. Until the interim Egyptian Government has guaranteed that the crossings are able to meet demand within Gaza of imports and exports, and there is free movement of people, it is unacceptable for these measures to be taken.
We are also highly concerned about the 69% reduction in Palestinians being allowed to cross into Egypt at the Rafah Crossing in July this year. The territory of Gaza is extremely small, the civilian population extremely high – over 1.6 million – and it is unacceptable for their basic right to freedom of movement to be curtailed in this way.
You will be aware that the actions of the Israeli Government with the assistance of your Governments has caused a humanitarian crisis in Gaza for many years now. This situation is now rapidly deteriorating. As a result, there has been a sharp drop in the amount of goods entering Gaza – including fuel, building materials and basic food products. Prices are rocketing, making essentials unaffordable for a population impoverished by the restrictions. Stocks of essential medicines have run out. The Water authority in Gaza has warned an environmental disaster is looming, due to the lack of fuel needed to operate its services.
The blockade of Gaza has now been on-going for more than 6 years. It is past time for it to end.
We call on Egypt’s interim Government to:
  • Halt the destruction of tunnels
  • Normalise the crossings between Gaza and Egypt
  • Work regionally and internationally to open Gaza ‘s borders
We look forward to your response.
2. For data on the number of crossings see Gisha http://www.gisha.org/item.asp?lang_id=en&p_id=2084
3. A water environmental disaster is looming – see Thirsting for Justice http://www.thirstingforjustice.org/?p=1785


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