STATEMENT OF CONTEXT
Amnesty International has called the Gaza blockade a "form of
collective punishment of the entire population of Gaza, a flagrant
violation of Israel's obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention."
Human Rights Watch has called the blockade a "serious violation of
international law." The United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human
Rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, Richard Falk, condemned
Israel’s siege of Gaza as amounting to a “crime against humanity.”
Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter has said the Palestinian people
trapped in Gaza are being treated "like animals," and has called for
"ending of the siege of Gaza" that is depriving "one and a half
million people of the necessities of life."
One of the world's leading authorities on Gaza, Sara Roy of Harvard
University, has said that the consequence of the siege "is undeniably
one of mass suffering, created largely by Israel, but with the active
complicity of the international community, especially the U.S. and
The law is clear. The conscience of humankind is shocked.
The Palestinians of Gaza have exhorted the international community to
move beyond words of condemnation.
Yet, the siege of Gaza continues.
Upholding International Law
The illegal siege of Gaza is not happening in a vacuum. It is one of
the many illegal acts committed by Israel in the Palestinian
territories it occupied militarily in 1967.
The Wall and the settlements are illegal, according to the
International Court of Justice the Hague.
House demolitions and wanton destruction of farm lands are illegal.
The closures and curfews are illegal.
The roadblocks and checkpoints are illegal.
The detention and torture are illegal.
The occupation itself is illegal.
The truth is that if international law were enforced the occupation would end.
An end to the military occupation that began in 1967 is a major
condition for establishing a just and lasting peace. For over six
decades, the Palestinian people have been denied freedom and rights to
self-determination and equality. The hundreds of thousands of
Palestinians who were forced out of their homes during Israel’s
creation in 1947-48 are still denied the rights granted them by UN
Sources of Inspiration
The Gaza Freedom March is inspired by decades of nonviolent
Palestinian resistance from the mass popular uprising of the first
Intifada to the West Bank villagers currently resisting the land grab
of Israel's annexationist wall.
It draws inspiration from the Gazans themselves, who formed a human
chain from Rafah to Erez, tore down the border barrier separating Gaza
from Egypt, and marched to the six checkpoints separating the occupied
Gaza Strip from Israel.
The Freedom March also draws inspiration from the international
volunteers who have stood by Palestinian farmers harvesting their
crops, from the crews on the vessels who have challenged the Gaza
blockade by sea, and from the drivers of the convoys who have
delivered humanitarian aid to Gaza.
And it is inspired by Nelson Mandela who said: “I have walked that
long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps
along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a
great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.
... I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”
It heeds the words of Mahatma Gandhi, who called his movement
Satyagraha-Hold on to the truth, and holds to the truth that Israel's
siege of Gaza is illegal and inhuman.
Gandhi said that the purpose of nonviolent action is to "quicken" the
conscience of humankind. Through the Freedom March, humankind will not
just deplore Israeli brutality but take action to stop it.
Palestinian civil society has followed in the footsteps of Mandela and
Gandhi. Just as those two leaders called on international civil
society to boycott the goods and institutions of their oppressors,
Palestinian associations, trade unions, and mass movements have since
2005 been calling on all people of conscience to support a non-violent
campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions until Israel fully
complies with its obligations under international law.
The Freedom March also draws inspiration from the civil rights
movement in the United States.
If Israel devalues Palestinian life then internationals must both
interpose their bodies to shield Palestinians from Israeli brutality
and bear personal witness to the inhumanity that Palestinians daily
If Israel defies international law then people of conscience must send
non-violent marshals from around the world to enforce the law of the
international community in Gaza. The International Coalition to End
the Illegal Siege of Gaza will dispatch contingents from around the
world to Gaza to mark the anniversary of Israel's bloody 22-day
assault on Gaza in December 2008 - January 2009.
The Freedom March takes no sides in internal Palestinian politics. It
sides only with international law and the primacy of human rights.
The March is yet another link in the chain of non-violent resistance
to Israel's flagrant disregard of international law.
Citizens of the world are called upon to join ranks with Palestinians
in the January 1st March to lift the inhumane siege of Gaza.
Endorse the Gaza Freedom March! Sign the Pledge Below!
This is the official "call" for the Gaza Freedom March. Any other
version is not authorized or correct.
Israel’s blockade of Gaza is a flagrant violation of international law
that has led to mass suffering. The U.S., the European Union, and the
rest of the international community are complicit.
The law is clear. The conscience of humankind is shocked. Yet, the
siege of Gaza continues. It is time for us to take action! On Dec. 31,
we will end the year by marching alongside the Palestinian people of
Gaza in a non-violent demonstration that breaches the illegal
Our purpose in this March is lifting the siege on Gaza. We demand that
Israel end the blockade. We also call upon Egypt to open Gaza’s Rafah
border. Palestinians must have freedom to travel for study, work, and
much-needed medical treatment and to receive visitors from abroad.
As an international coalition we are not in a position to advocate a
specific political solution to this conflict. Yet our faith in our
common humanity leads us to call on all parties to respect and uphold
international law and fundamental human rights to bring an end to the
Israeli military occupation of Palestinian territories since 1967 and
pursue a just and lasting peace.
The march can only succeed if it arouses the conscience of humanity.
Please join us.