Urge Congress to support an end to the Gaza blockade and Palestinian unity efforts

Ask Congress to support an end to the Gaza blockade and to provide U.S. diplomatic support for the reconciliation process between Palestinian factions.

Background: Last week the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and the Hamas authorities in Gaza signed a reconciliation deal to end the decade of division between the two groups. The new agreement is an important first step towards change in Gaza and a necessary move before larger issues between Palestinians and Israelis can be addressed.

The agreement comes at a time of dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza. In 2012 the United Nations predicted that by 2020 Gaza would be uninhabitable, but some UN officials warn that Gaza may be unlivable even sooner.

The blockade of Gaza has led to this current crisis, and the blockade must be lifted regardless of what happens between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. The security concerns of Israel and border issues with Egypt can be addressed through monitored crossings that allow the people of Gaza to move freely, humanitarian aid to reach Gaza, and commerce to resume.

Obstacles could still derail the agreement. Both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas will need to make hard concessions on how to share power. In addition, past efforts at forming a Palestinian unity government have resulted in the United States threatening funding cuts and other punitive measures against the Palestinian Authority.

For a decade Palestinians in Gaza have suffered as a result of disunity and the blockade. The recent agreement presents a rare seed of hope in Gaza. Through your support that seed can be nourished and grown.

Faith reflection: “Those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness” (James 3:18, NLT).

Action: Contact your members of Congress today to tell them that the U.S. should offer full diplomatic and political support to this reconciliation process and should support an end to the Gaza blockade.

Alert prepared October 19, 2017 by Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach, director. Adapted from an alert by the Faith Forum on Middle East Policy, a coalition of which the MCC U.S. Washington Office is a member.

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