In January, European activists were arrested as they attempted to break the illegal Israeli siege of Gaza by cutting the fence separating Gaza from Israel.
The campaigners were from ‘Gaza 2020 Breaking the Siege’, a new international movement whose aim is to challenge Israel’s ‘inhumane’ blockade of two million Gazans.
Previous attempts to break the siege have been by sea, including the Gaza Freedom Flotilla of May 2010, in which nine unarmed Turkish solidarity activists were killed by the Israeli military. (See PN 2523 – 2524.)
The Gaza 2020 actions have been welcomed by the organising group for the Great March of Return demonstrations by Gazans.
Two of the Gaza 2020 delegation were arrested at the fence itself (on 9 January) and five were arrested on 13 January in southern Israel as they attempted to reach the fence. The second group included British teacher Julia Lister and Finnish MP Anna Kontula.
The group aims to ‘raise awareness about Israel’s medieval siege and demand an end to the collective punishment of all Gaza, which has been ongoing since 2007.’
Meanwhile, according to Gaza 2020, the Israeli government is building a higher wall, six metres high and a metre wide, costing over $1 billion.
With this barrier, Israel is confiscating more of Gaza’s small amount of arable land, and demonstrating its intention to continue the siege for many years. Without international pressure, Gaza will remain a prison indefinitely.