New e-campaign demands end of Israel’s Gaza siege

Palestinians both inside and outside territories – along with foreign activists – take part in initiative

Palestinian and Arab activists on Monday evening launched an online campaign to condemn Israel’s almost decade-long siege of the Gaza Strip.

Ismail Haniyeh, vice-president of Hamas’ political bureau, and prominent Saudi preacher Mohamed al-Arifi are both participating in the campaign.

The campaign was launched by activists associated with the Arab and Muslim Youth Federation and the Kuwait-based Jerusalem Forum.

The Hashtag in Arabic language (We are responsible for Gaza) has rapidly spread on Facebook and Twitter.

Along with foreign and Arab activists, numerous Palestinians — both inside and outside the Palestinian territories — are taking part in the campaign, which calls for an end to the suffering of nearly two million Gazans who continue to face dire humanitarian and economic conditions.

Thousands of tweets also called for opening the Rafah border crossing linking Egypt to the Gaza Strip so as to allow the people of Gaza to travel freely.

“Such activities highlight the suffering of Gaza, where the 10-year Israeli siege has served to raise poverty and unemployment rates to unprecedented levels,” Haniyeh said in a video message.

Al-Arifi, for his part, tweeted: “Gaza has the right to live in safety and peace.”

Blockaded by Israel — by air, land and sea — since 2007, the Gaza Strip has seven border crossings linking it to the outside world. Six of these are controlled by Israel, while the seventh — the Rafah crossing — is controlled by Egypt, which keeps it tightly sealed for the most part.

Israel sealed four of its commercial crossings with Gaza in June 2007 after Hamas wrested control of the strip from the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority.