Dear Senator Lugar
I would like to divert your attention to the Gaza Strip on the Mediterranean Coast. This strip of land covers roughly 350 square kilometers. Even though the Gaza Strip is small in size, it has been the target of many artillery bombardments by Israel since 2005. Amnesty International reported that the Israeli forces have carried out frequent air and artillery bombardments against the Gaza Strip. These bombardments were often into residential areas, home to innocent families. One of the artillery bombardments in 2007 lead to the deaths of seven members of the Ghalia family, five children and their parents. Another event reported by Amnesty International
In the early morning of 8 November (2007), 18 members of the Athamna family were killed and dozens of other civilians were injured when a volley of artillery shells struck a densely populated neighbourhood of Beit Hanoun, in the north of the Gaza Strip. The victims, eight of them children, were killed in their sleep or while fleeing the shelling, which lasted for around 30 minutes and during which some 12 shells landed in the area.
Events such as these have been allowed with no repercussions and the Israeli forces are becoming even crueler in their dealings with the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip. In 2007 alone Israeli forces accounted for the deaths of over 100 children and over 300 unarmed civilians in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli forces did not let the deaths of 100 children and 300 unarmed civilians stop them from their inhumane acts. Now in 2008, they still persecute the people who reside on the Gaza Strip. The Israeli forces have blockaded the Gaza Strip, cut off all fuel supplies, electricity supplies, and humanitarian assistance.
Now I would like move your attention to a smaller portion of the Gaza Strip known as Gaza City. According to the International Herald Tribune, about 500,000 people live in Gaza City. Of the 500,000 only a few citizens had anything to do with the Palestinian attacks on Israel. The majority of the citizens is below the poverty line and already has an extremely difficult life. Due to the blockade by the Israelis, a number of seriously ill patients of Gaza’s hospital have died because of the lack of supplies. Furthermore, because fuel and electricity supplies have been cut off, the innocent people of Gaza City do not have the supplies to pump clean water. Also, the lack of power available to Gaza citizens makes it difficult to refrigerate their food and medicines. Malcolm Smart stated, “The blockade, appears calculated to make an already dire humanitarian situation worse, one in which the most vulnerable -- the sick, the elderly, women and children -- will bear the brunt, not those responsible for the attacks against Israel."
Senator Lugar I propose we extend a helping hand to defend the Gaza Strip and Gaza City from artillery bombardments of Israel, reopen the borders of the Gaza Strip, invest in Gaza City’s economy so that the citizens will be able to support themselves if this situation re occurs in the future, and increase the media coverage of this violation of human rights so that other countries in the world can see what is occurring. Perhaps other countries can be moved to contribute to this uniting cause.