Statement on the situation in Gaza

On 18 May 2018 the Pugwash President Sergio Duarte and Secretary General Paolo Cotta Ramusino issued the following statement.

For more than ten years, and particularly since the war of 2014, life in Gaza has been dramatic and consistently bleak for the almost two million inhabitants. They are allowed only occasionally to exit and enter, and thus Gaza has become, in effect, a large prison. During these years there has been little or no relief in sight for the population, and little or no political progress for the Palestinian people as a whole.

We have recently witnessed a spike in violent confrontation between those protesting their situation in Gaza and the Israeli security forces at the border. The massacre of more than 60 civilians during the week of 14 May 2018 follows from further bloodshed and repression since March of this year. The decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem was an unnecessary provocation that has aggravated the unrest and complicates an already difficult, if not impossible, peace process.

It remains a dynamic and tense situation that could evolve into a yet greater tragedy. Partial relief has come from the Egyptian government’s decision to open the Rafah crossing during the holy month of Ramadan as a means to “alleviate the suffering” of the wounded and poor; but the humanitarian situation continues to be dire, to say the least.

We call on the international community to make concerted efforts and take concrete action that can prevent further violence and loss of life, as well as promote the permanent improvement of life in Palestine and particularly in the Gaza “prison.”