ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Gaza. Ouvrez les portes !
Translated Wednesday 24 June 2009, by
Israel has maintained its blockade on Gaza for the past two years.
Yet another bloody clash at the Israel-Gaza border, on June 8 2009, reminds us just how explosive the situation remains. Four dead and twelve injured on the Palestinian side, with no losses for the Israelis. In the Gaza Strip, only thirty to forty products from a list of four thousand previously authorised by Israel (before the blockade imposed in June 2007) are tolerated today, and 1.5 million people are trapped inside Gaza’s borders, exposed to total arbitrariness.
Books, records, clothing, fabric, shoes, needles, electric bulbs, candles, matches, musical instruments, sheets, blankets, mattresses, cups, glasses…are all forbidden and have to be transported via fragile tunnels from Egypt which are the targets of repeated bombings. In 2008, more than fifty people died in tunnels collapsing. None of the materials needed to rebuild them (cement, doors, glass, windows, etc.) are authorised either, following the devastating attacks of December 2008-January 2009. Tea, coffee and semolina remain banned items (see Amira Hass’ study: “Israel bans books, music and clothes from entering Gaza”, Haaretz, May 17 2009).
Sixty Nobel Laureates, of whom 10 received the Nobel Peace Prize, two hundred European Parliament Members (2004-2009) and other important people are working with the NGO Peace Lines as part of their Open the doors! campaign for a permanent end to the Gaza blockade and the release of prisoners on humanitarian and legal grounds.
We ask all political leaders and members of the new European Parliament to do everything they can to ensure these releases – including that of Corporal Gilad Shalit and the former Education Minister Al Shaer, re-arrested on March 19 in conditions which violate international law. Europe and the Union for the Mediterranean cannot continue to allow such deprivation and suffocation to take place on their doorstep.
“Open the doors! Israel must end its blockade on Gaza, stop the killing and allow Gaza to open up to the world so as to guarantee the possibility of a viable economy. Palestinians must cease all rocket attacks on Israel and the Israeli people.
Human beings are not bargaining chips. Consequently:
The Palestinians must free Corporal Gilad Shalit, whom they have held prisoner for almost three years.
The Israelis, who hold more ten thousand people in their prisons, must free a significant number of female, elderly and infirm prisoners who have served long sentences, as well as prisoners held under administrative detention, including all the elected members of the Palestinian legislature.”
60 Nobel Laureates
Nobel Peace Prize Laureates: Bishop Carlos Belo, the Dalai-Lama, Shirin Ebadi, John Hume, Mairead Maguire, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Cora Weiss (UN representative for the ICP), Betty Williams, Jody Williams.
Nobel Laureates in Chemistry: Peter Agre, Paul Berg, Thomas Cech, Elias Corey, Robert Curl, Johann Deisenhofer, Manfred Eigen, Richard Ernst, John Fenn, Herbert Hauptman, Alan Heeger, Dudley Herschbach, Roald Hoffmann, Robert Huber, Sir Harold Kroto, Yuan T. Lee, William Lipscomb, Jens Skou.
Nobel Laureates in Medicine: Baruj Benacerraf, Günter Blobel, Arvid Carlsson, Christian de Duve, Martin Evans, Edmond Fischer, Roger Guillemin, Louis Ignarro, François Jacob, Eric Kandel, Erwin Neher, Marshall Nirenberg, Paul Nurse, Richard Roberts, E. Donnall Thomas, Torsten Wiesel.
Nobel Laureates in Physics: Zhores Alferov, Albert Fert, Donald Glaser, John Hall, Brian Josephson, Tony Leggett, Douglas Oscheroff, Jack Steinberger, Gerardus ’t Hooft, Daniel Tsui, Martinus Veltman.
Nobel Laureates in Literature: Dario Fo, Elfriede Jelinek, Tony Morrisson, Wole Soyinka.
Nobel Laureates in Economics: James Mirrlees.
202 European Parliament Members
France: Kader Arif, Catherine Boursier, Françoise Castex, Madeleine Jouye de Grandmaison, Harlem Désir, Hélène Flautre, Nicole Fontaine (former President of the European Parliament), Jean-Paul Gauzès, Marie Anne Isler Béguin, Anne Laperrouze, Alain Lipietz, General Philippe Morillon, Élisabeth Morin, Gérard Onesta (Vice President of the Parliament), Béatrice Patrie, Martine Roure, Tokia Saïfi, Margie Sudre, Bernadette Vergnaud, Francis Wurtz.
Germany: Alexander Alvaro, Angelika Beer, Hildrud Breyer, André Brie, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Michael Cramer, Évelyne Gebhardt, Rebecca Harms, Milan Horacek, Gisela Kallenbach, Jo Leinen, Helmut Markov, Cem Özdemir, Tobias Pflüger, Horst Posdorf, Heide Rühle, Frithjof Schmidt, Feleknas Uca, Sahra Wagenknecht, Gabriele Zimmer.
Great Britain: Christopher Beazley, John Bowis, Sharon Bowles, Chris Davies, Bairbre de Brùn, Andrew Duff, Jill Evans, Sajjad Karim, Jean Lambert, Caroline Lucas, Elizabeth Lynne, David Martin, Linda McAvan, Malcolm Harbour, Claude Moraes, Bill Newton Dunn, John Purvis, Alyn Smith, Diana Wallis (Vice President of the Parliament)
Belgium: Ivo Belet, Frieda Brepoels, Philippe Busquin, Giovanna Corda, Jean-Luc Dehaene, Véronique de Keyser (Head of the Observers’ Mission for Legislative Elections in Palestine & Vice President of the Work Task on the Middle-East), Gérard Deprez, Mia de Vits (Quaestor), Saïd El Khadraoui, Mathieu Grosch, Alain Hutchinson, Pierre Jonckheer, Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck, Bart Staes, Dirk Sterckx, Johan Van Hecke, Anne Van Lancker.
Spain: Maria Badia i Cutchet, Barbara Dührkop Dührkop, Josep Borrell Fontelles, Juan Fraile Cantón, Vicente Miguel Garces Ramon, Martî Grau i Segu, Ignasi Guardans Cambo, David Hammerstein, Mikel Irujo Amezaga, Miguel Angel Martînez Martînez (Vice President of the Parliament), Emilio Menendez del Valle, Willy Meyer Pleite, Raül Romeva i Rueda.
Ireland: Liam Aylward, Colm Burke, Brian Crowley, Proinsias de Rossa, Avril Doyle, Marian Harkin, Jim Higgins, Mary Lou McDonald, Mairead McGuinness, Gay Mitchell, Sean O Neachtain, Eoin Ryan, Kathy Sinnott.
Italy: Vittorio Agnoletto, Giuletto Chiesa, Fabio Ciani, Luigi Cocilovo (Vice President of the Parliament), Monica Frassoni, Donata Gottardi, Umberto Guidoni (astronaut), Sepp Kusstatscher, Luisa Morgantini (Vice President of the Parliament) Pasqualina Napoletano, Vittorio Prodi.
Sweden: Jan Andersson, Göran Färm, Hélène Goudin, Anna Hedh, Jens Holm, Maria Robsahm, Carl Schlyter, Inger Segelström, Eva-Britt Svensson, Åsa Westlund, Anders Wijkman.
Holland: Emine Bozkurt, Dorette Corbey, Jan Cremers, Elly de Groen, Lily Jacobs, Joost Lagendijk, Kartika Tamara Liotard, Jules Maaten, Erik Meijer, Jan Marinus Wiersma.
Lithuania: Laima Liucija Andrikiene, Arunas Degutis, Jolanta Dickute, Gintaras Didziokas, Eugenijus Gentvilas, Vytautas Landsbergis, Eugenijus Maldeikis, Justas Vincas Paleckis, Aloyzas Sakalas.
Czech Republic: Richard Falbr, Vera Flasarova, Jaromir Kohlicek, Jiri Mastalka, Miloslav Ransdorf, Vladimir Remek, Daniel Stroz, Tomas Zatloukal, Jaroslav Zverina.
Portugal: Maria da Assunçao Esteves, Edite Estrela, Armando França, Ana Maria Gomes, Ilda Figueiredo, Jamila Madeira, Miguel Portas.
Greece: Costas Botopoulos, Giorgios Dimitrakopoulos, Dimitris Papadimoulis, Antonios Trakatellis, Nikolaos Vakalis, Ioannis Varvitsiotis…
Yasmina Khadra, Franca Rame, Noam Chomsky, Martin Gray (survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto), David Grossman, Amos Oz, Michel Rocard (former Prime Minister of France).