A quick statistical note about Gaza from Jonathan Kent:
It's land area is 360 sq km and it's estimated population is around 1,816,000.
That's very slightly bigger than the combined land area of the four SE London boroughs of Croydon, Bromley, Bexley and Greenwich (total land area c 346 sq km - combined population around 1,157,000).
Gaza's overall population density is 5046 per sq km. slightly less dense overall than Greenwich (5400 per sq km).
So if a foreign power were to shell SE London and it were as densely populated throughout as Greenwich and if they said 'we told you to leave your homes' and you couldn't actually leave those four boroughs would you concur with a minister from that power who accused people in the area of “conducting mass self-genocide” as an Israeli minister has said of Hamas?
We, the undersigned, call on Prime Minister David Cameron urgently to use all available diplomatic means to end the collective punishment of the people of Gaza. We call for:
- The protection of civilians and medical facilities. At time of posting, more than 700 people have been killed, 170 of them children, and over 5,000 wounded in indiscriminate attacks. 99% are Palestinians. Israel has also targeted hospitals and medical personnel. The protection of civilians must be prioritised. Parties must be held to account for violations of international law.
- A complete and enduring ceasefire. After three wars in six years and on-going hostilities in between, the suffering of Gaza must end. There must be an immediate, complete and enduring ceasefire.
- A new deal for Gaza. A ceasefire is not enough. There can be no return to the status quo. The illegal blockade of Gaza by Israel and Egypt has been futile and deeply destructive and must end. Substantial aid must be provided to repair the immense damage to Gaza’s infrastructure and address the dire humanitarian and socio-economic situation.
- A new deal for Palestine. A solution for Gaza must go hand in hand with a solution for Palestine and for all Palestinians, including refugees. The steps towards Palestinian unity and the reunification of West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza must be supported. Peace negotiations must resume. Palestinians’ right to self determination must be respected.
We call upon the UK Government to press Israel and Egypt to fulfil their obligations under international law, to redouble efforts to end the blockade of Gaza and to give full support to achieve a just and fair solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.