RAMALLAH, June 21 (JMCC) - American Jew Jane Hirschmann relates why she is joining a flotilla to break the siege on the Gaza Strip in late June in this comment for
the Palestine Chronicle
The siege and blockade of Gaza continue. The Israeli government controls the land, sea and air of this small area (25 miles long and roughly six miles wide) where 1.6 million people live. There has been no movement in recent years unless Israel allowed it. (Egypt's partial opening of the Rafah gate to human traffic, though not to commerce, is a positive sign if it is allowed to grow). Most people cannot travel in or out of Gaza because of continuing restrictions, 61 percent of the population is food insecure, the unemployment rate is around 45 percent, one of the highest in the world, and exports remain banned with the exception of limited items like strawberries and carnations for European markets. Gaza is called an open-air prison even by England's Prime Minister, David Cameron.
Given all this, I can remain silent no longer. Every day Palestinians are confronting the Israeli government at the wall, at check points, at demolition sites. They risk their lives. Like the Freedom Rides our boat is sailing to call attention to the illegal occupation and siege of Gaza.
My humanity and my Jewishness – Jewish history – demand my being part of an organizing effort to end the inhumane treatment of the Palestinians. The U.S. Boat, called The Audacity of Hope, will sail in late June to Gaza as part of the Freedom Flotilla 2-Stay Human. We will be approximately 50 individuals from across the U.S. committed to non-violence, human rights and freedom and justice for the Palestinian people.