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December 2007 Postcard

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DEAR SENATOR:

I URGE YOU to support a change in the U.S. stance on the Gaza Strip. Since Hamas victory in the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections Gazans have been living under a horrible, dehumanizing, U.S.-supported siege. Israel declared Gaza an enemy entity on Sept. 19, 2007 and now is creating more poverty, despair, and ill-will.

The White House and members of Congress say they support peace based on a two-state solution. For peace to succeed, all Palestinians should be engaged, including democratically elected Hamas representatives. I urge you to help alleviate the suffering in the Gaza Strip, and to pressure Israel to do likewise.

What Palestinians, especially Gazans, need are hope, economic prosperity, and a vision of peace—not more despair, poverty, isolation and violence. Genuine peace will come only if every Israeli and Palestinian voice is heard.


altAn elderly Palestinian refugee waits to receive a ration of food aid at an UNRWA warehouse in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Oct. 25, 2007. (AFP Photo/Said Khatib)

ISRAEL—which sells Gaza 120 megawatts of the 200 megawatts of electricity it uses annually—has reduced the already-limited amount of gasoline and electricity it allows into the Gaza Strip. On June 28, 2006, Israeli airstrikes destroyed, one by one, all six transformers at the Gaza power plant, and the plant is still not running at full capacity.

In addition, only one border allowing humanitarian supplies into the Strip remains open. Israel, with the West’s support, has declared Gaza an enemy entity.With each day of Israeli sanctions on the Gaza Strip, the already desperate situation of its people worsens. Poverty is increasing and unemployment is alarmingly high. Most Gazans now depend on food aid. Commercial activity has come to a halt. Many Gaza residents, the victims of a ruthless form of collective punishment, have lost hope.