A petition signed by 3,885 people calling for an end to the siege on Gaza was handed into Downing Street on Friday 17 January 2014.
It was handed in by:
- Mahmoud Sarsak, Palestinian footballer and former prisoner and hunger striker
- Haya Al Farra from the Palestinian Mission
- and Ziad Elaloul from Palestinian Forum of Britain
- PSC patrons: Sir Geoffrey Bindman and Bruce Kent
- and PSC Chair, Hugh Lanning and Director, Sarah Colborne.
In advance of handing in the petition, Mahmoud Sarsak said:
“Israel’s crime of perpetrating this siege against 1.8 million civilians is almost equalled by the international community’s crime of standing by and letting them. The UK has the power – alongside other states – to exert huge influence on Israel if they are prepared to take action to end Israel’s human rights violations.”
Hugh Lanning, Chair of PSC, called for action:
“It is morally and politically unacceptable that the UK allows this blockade to continue. the Government must put in place measures to effectively pressure Israel into releasing their stranglehold. More than 6 years on we must move beyond diplomacy into economic and political action.’
Palestinian Ayman Abdullah, was supposed to be joining the delegation, but was unable to leave Gaza to take part.
Ayman, who lives and works in London and is currently in Gaza, said:
“I am in Gaza and I am stuck here and can’t get out. I’ve already lost my ticket and my job in London is at risk. I tried everything I can so far and still can’t even register my name on the list of people who wish to leave Gaza. The Egyptians open Rafah only for 2 to 3 days roughly every 10 to 12 days. When they open it they work with minimal capacity and let only two to three buses out a day. This means even if I manage to register now, I could be stuck here for a month or two. This has already put a strain on me regarding my job as well as financially. Even my British passport is not doing me any favours when it comes to the Rafah Crossing.”