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Posted by on Jul 23, 2013 in General News

How Much Can They Endure?

The following media release was recently sent to a large number of media outlets, and we are also sharing it with our supporters. It can be found on our website (http://tinyurl.com/pnt232s) as well.

Français – Español – Italiano – Português – Deutsch – Dansk – Svenska – Norsk – ελληνικά – العربية – עברית : (http://www.gazaark.org/translation/)
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Media Release from Gaza’s Ark
How much can they endure?
Coup in Egypt Tests Palestinians in Gaza
Our friends in Gaza tell us stories every day about Palestinians doing their best to survive under the incredible hardships of the Israeli blockade: cuts in power, lack of water supplies, and almost no ability to export, including no ability to trade by sea.
Actions taken by the Egyptian government following the recent coup are now exacerbating an already desperate situation. Egypt closed the crossing between Gaza and Egypt at Rafah on July 5, keeping thousands of Palestinians stuck in Gaza, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights reported[1] Palestinians trying to return home to Gaza via Cairo airport are being deported by Egyptian authorities to the countries they flew in from, at their own expense, Electronic Intifada reports[2]. Egypt’s crackdown on smuggling tunnels has caused fuel and cement prices to soar in Gaza, Reuters reported[3].
For those of us working on the international Gaza’s Ark (www.gazaark.org) project with our Palestinian partners, it is the desperate situation that people in Gaza endure every day that drives us forward, week by week, this solidarity project that is challenging the Israeli maritime blockade from the inside out. It also enables boat builders to earn wages renovating and converting a fishing boat that we purchased in May this year into a cargo boat which we will sail as soon as practicable with Palestinian goods purchased by groups from around the world.
Our work has become even harder in the last few weeks with access to materials further limited by the closure of the tunnels from Egypt. However, our team in Gaza has been adapting to these problems with ingenuity and resourcefulness. Most recently they have recycled and fashioned old metal tanks into smaller ones that we need for Gaza’s Ark. Our project manager in Gaza, Mahfouz Kabariti, says, “The situation here is difficult, especially with the shortages of fuel, cooking gas, raw materials, and electricity.”
Sami Ali Al-Goga is one of the workers on Gaza’s Ark. He lost his left hand when his fishing boat came under attack by an Israeli gunboat in March 2007. You can read more about Sami’s story here: (http://tinyurl.com/nhee255). Mustafa Abu Oda is also working on Gaza’s Ark. He is a 24-year-old father of two and a fisherman who lives in al-Shati refugee camp in the northwest of the Gaza Strip. Mustafa said: “I wouldn’t keep fishing if there were other work opportunities, because it is not safe. Every day, fishermen get injured, captured and killed by the Israeli Navy. I am afraid of the future, it looks like a dark bad dream, but I am pleased to be working on Gaza’s Ark and to have the solidarity of so many people around the world who care about us and will not abandon us.” You can read more about Mustafa’s story here (http://tinyurl.com/kzdrt23)
How bad does it need to be for Palestinians in Gaza to be heard? Groups like UNRWA and ICRC are doing crucial work to meet immediate humanitarian needs under difficult conditions. But we also need to work for justice to end Gaza’s crisis permanently. Gaza’s Ark is an opportunity to provide direct financial support to people on the ground and be part of a decisive solidarity effort to publicly challenge the illegal Israeli-Egyptian blockade.

Gaza’s Ark – Building Hope!
Photos of Gaza’s Ark in the process of being refurbished in Gaza available here (http://www.gazaark.org/category/ark-photo-album/)
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[1]http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9662:pchr-concerned-for-deterioration-of-humanitarian-conditions-in-the-gaza-strip&catid=145:in-focus
[2] http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/egypt-deporting-palestinians-trying-return-gaza
[3] http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/egypt-s-crackdown-on-gaza-tunnels-takes-economic-toll-on-palestinians-1.531731
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