Dozens of activists braved extremely cold weather in New York City on Saturday to stage a protest in front of the Egyptian Consulate demanding that Egypt open the Rafah Crossing to provide relief for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip who are suffering under Israel’s draconian siege.
The situation in Gaza today is urgent. After the 3 July coup that deposed Egypt’s democratically elected government, the military authorities partially closed the Rafah Crossing and destroyed the tunnels between Gaza and Egypt. As a result, Gaza’s power plant has repeatedly been forced to shut down and fuel shortages have disabled essential services. Recent storms and flooding have intensified the humanitarian crisis.
According to the UN, Israel’s ongoing siege of Gaza is a “flagrant contravention of international human rights and humanitarian law” under the Fourth Geneva Convention, and amounts to collective punishment of the Palestinian people.
The press release for the New York City protest adds that: “Now Egypt is making a dire situation even worse by restricting the movement of critical food, fuel, and aid to Gaza and preventing people from moving across the border for study or for medical care.”
The 4 January protest, organised by Brooklyn for Peace and co-sponsored by 20 local solidarity organisations, called upon the Egyptian authorities to “stop doing Israel’s dirty work” and demanded for the Rafah Crossing to remain open to the Palestinian people.
Photos by Bud Korotzer, Desertpeace