Newsflash:
Lesli Messinger End Wars and Occupations End the Gaza Blockade to Achieve Peace
Friday, 01 August 2014 13:42

End the Gaza Blockade to Achieve Peace

Written by  Congressman Keith Ellison | The Washington Post
Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Israel escalated its military campaign against Hamas on Tuesday, striking symbols of the group's control in Gaza and firing tank shells that shut down the strip's only power plant in the heaviest bombardment in the fighting so far. The plant’s shutdown was bound to lead to further serious disruptions of the flow of electricity and water to Gaza’s 1.7 million people. Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Israel escalated its military campaign against Hamas on Tuesday, striking symbols of the group's control in Gaza and firing tank shells that shut down the strip's only power plant in the heaviest bombardment in the fighting so far. The plant’s shutdown was bound to lead to further serious disruptions of the flow of electricity and water to Gaza’s 1.7 million people. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
It seems as though each day brings new horrors and heartbreaks in the Holy Land. More than 1,000 dead. Gazan children blown up on the beach. A U.N. shelter hit. Two-thirds of Israelis living in fear from indiscriminate rocket fire launched by Hamas.

But as the calls for a cease-fire gain momentum, it is important to understand that many Gazans who have no association with Hamas view the return to the way things were as unacceptable.

These people aren’t rocket shooters or combatants. For the past several years they have lived in dreadful isolation. The status quo for ordinary Gazans is a continuation of no jobs and no freedom. This is not an attractive future. Gazans want and deserve the dignity of economic opportunity and freedom to move. This can be accomplished only with an end to the blockade of the Gaza Strip, which must be considered within the framework of a cease-fire. Israelis likewise deserve to live free of rocket fire and terror attacks. In order for Israelis to live safely and securely in their homes, Hamas must give up its rockets and other weapons.

I have traveled to Gaza three times since 2009 and have visited hospitals and schools there. As I have talked with ordinary Gazans, I have not encountered anyone representing Hamas. During one visit, I had the opportunity to meet Scott Anderson, deputy director of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Anderson, a 21-year veteran of the U.S. Army, said it best when I spoke to him again this week: “Unless there is material change to the status quo, you’re just resetting the clock for another cycle of violence.” Continuing to block goods and services to and from Gaza keeps the keys to opportunity away from the people who just want to live, work and travel.

The vast majority of Gazans do not support firing rockets into Israel or killing Israelis. In fact, the majority of people in Gaza are women and children. During my first visit to the region, this fact was clear: There were kids everywhere. This week, I also spoke with Yousef Moussa, chief area operations officer at the UNRWA office in Rafah. He puts this observation in context, noting, “50 percent of Gazans are under the age of 18. Seventy percent of Gazans are women and children. 80 percent of Gazans live below the poverty line. Relatively few Gazans are associated with Hamas.”

So how can the international community support those Gazans who don’t support indiscriminate rocket fire? We could take steps to allow for the safe flow of goods and services into Gaza and the export of goods and services to neighboring countries. We could advocate for Gazans to have freedom of movement. Now, if you’re a Gazan traveling in the West Bank, the Israeli military can forcibly return you to Gaza. Being able to import goods such as food, fuel and medicine would mean that Gazans would not be forced to buy necessities from a tunnel economy controlled by extremists. International actors should be involved in the process to address Israel’s security concerns about lifting the blockade.

The blockade prevents development in Gaza. Egypt and Israel argue that the blockade is designed to cut off resources from terrorists, but really it has brought those who want a better life to their knees while the bad actors still have their rockets. Before the blockade, the United Nations provided food to 80,000 in Gaza; today it provides food to 830,000.

Israel and Egypt also view the blockade as a success because it pushed Hamas into a financial crisis. This is short-term thinking. It ignores the fact that the economic devastation from the blockade weakens the public and private sectors in Gaza and strengthens extremists and smuggling enterprises. Repression and deprivation fuel terrorism; economic development and inclusion can fuel long-term peace.

A viable path beyond the current crisis would empower Gazans and weaken extremists who benefit from their suffering. The international community, especially nations in the region, should help Gazans rebuild their demolished homes and businesses. But who will invest if war will predictably break out every two years?

There is no military solution to this conflict. The status quo brings only continued pain, suffering and war. Promoting economic development and social interaction in Gaza is in the long-term security interest of Israel and the rest of the region. The relative calm that existed during Secretary of State John Kerry’s extended diplomatic talks between Israel and the Palestinians during 2013-14 shows that engaging in dialogue is the first step toward stopping the violence.

Ultimately, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be resolved with a final status agreement, and ending the violence and the blockade is a first step toward a permanent solution.

Link to the original article from The Washington Post.

Read 2731 times Last modified on Friday, 01 August 2014 13:48

Latest News from the Messinger Campaign

  • Savannah's Lesli Messinger gives Democrats best chance to beat Jack Kingston
    Savannah's Lesli Messinger gives Democrats best chance to beat Jack Kingston

    On Saturday, October 20, First Congressional District candidate Lesli Messinger visited Pin Point, Georgia and talked with locals about her candidacy and to listen to what issues those citizens believe are important.

    Messinger has traveled through her congressional district for months since her qualifying back in late May and has touted a strong progressive message and has been able to build grassroots coalitions.

    Written on Sunday, 21 October 2012 16:18 Read more...
  • Messinger Wins Race to Face Kingston
    Messinger Wins Race to Face Kingston

    Progressive Democrats say Congrats to U.S. Congressional GA District 1 Primary Winner Lesli Messinger. Lesli Messinger has claimed the Democratic nomination for Georgia’s 1st Congressional District Tuesday beating Nathan Russo in the Democratic Primary.  Unofficial results showed Messinger with 54 percent of the vote to 46 percent for Russo with 97 percent of the precincts reporting.

    Written on Wednesday, 01 August 2012 15:55 Read more...
  • Georgia’s Only Democratic Woman Candidate for Congress
    Georgia’s Only Democratic Woman Candidate for Congress

    Democrat Lesli Messinger seeks to end 20 years of Republican domination in coastal Georgia.  It’s a particularly difficult challenge to unseat an incumbent, and harder still for a Democrat in a Congressional District that’s been Republican-ruled for 20 years.

    Written on Friday, 27 July 2012 02:52 Read more...
  • Mickey Stephens backs Lesli Messinger for Congress
    Mickey Stephens backs Lesli Messinger for Congress

    State Rep. Mickey Stephens, D-Savannah, has endorsed Lesli Messinger for the Democratic nomination in the 1st Congressional District.

    Messinger, a Savannah businesswoman, is running against Nathan Russo, a retired St. Simons businessman, in Tuesday’s primary.

    The winner will face Republican incumbent Jack Kingston, who is seeking a 10th term.  Last year’s boundary changes left the district with a GOP tilt, but less pronounced than in the past.

    The endorsement apparently is intended to buttress Messinger’s claim to be a stauncher Democrat than Russo and a loyal supporter of  President Barack Obama.

    Russo has argued that, to beat Kingston in the district, a Democrat must make a strong appeal to many independents and at least some Republicans.

    Stephens prefaces his statement by saying he’s “a lifelong member of the Democratic Party for over 30 years.”  

    “Not only does Mrs. Messinger have fresh new ideas that I feel truly represent the people of our district, and the state of Georgia,” he said. “She is a proud supporter of President Obama’s policies. I know Messinger will stand with President Obama in Congress, on a true Democratic front with other members of Congress.”

    Written on Thursday, 26 July 2012 00:00
  • U.S. House District 1: Lesli Messinger says she speaks for middle class
    U.S. House District 1: Lesli Messinger says she speaks for middle class

    Lesli Messinger moved to Skidaway Island four years ago, she says, to escape the “dark and dreary” environs of New Jersey. But Messinger says she found darkness and dreariness near the tranquil community where she and her husband, Nathan, relocated. She says she met women who couldn’t afford cookies for their grandchildren and people whose jobless benefits were expiring.

    Written on Tuesday, 24 July 2012 00:00 Read more...

ERA Legislation in your State

Unratified states Gold - Ratified States Purple

PDA Radio

Listen "Live" Wednesday, 9/17/2014 @ 8pm
RevYearwood

Rev. Lennox Yearwood
Special Guest Bill McKibben

Call In Number 347-202-0385

Sign the ERA Petition

ERADemandButton

On Friday, September 12th more than 150 activists will go to DC and Demand that their Senators and Representatives support removing the ratification deadline from the ERA (SJ Res 15 and HJ Res 113)

Button-SignERAPetition

Like Lesli Messinger

Lori Wallach on the TPP from PDA Progressive Roundtable

Progressive Roundtable with Reps. Ellison and Pocan and Lori Wallach on TPP

TPP: The Biggest Threat to the Internet You've Probably Never Heard Of