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A cease-fire is welcome, but it isn't enough

AFSC staffer Jehad Abusalim, who is from Gaza, shared this statement in response to recent news.

Photo: Brooke Anderson / @movementphotographer

On May 21, a cease-fire was declared nearly two weeks after Israel launched attacks on Gaza. In response to the cease-fire announcement, Jehad Abusalim, AFSC education and policy associate of the Palestine Activism Program, shared the following statement on Twitter. Jehad is from Gaza and his family continues to live there today.

A cease-fire is welcome, but it isn't enough. It is time to end the blockade. It is time to fully open all of Gaza's crossings. It is time to lift restrictions on imports and exports. It is time for Palestinians in Gaza to have more than six hours of electricity a day.

It is time for people like me to be able to visit their families whenever they wish. I haven't been able to see my family in eight years. It is time for my family to enjoy clean and fresh water, health care, and freedom of movement.

It is time to end Gaza's isolation. It is time to end the demonization and dehumanization of my people in the media and popular culture. It is time for young people in Gaza to have jobs, to be able to travel and to see the world.

It is time to help Palestinian families in Gaza to be able to visit Jerusalem, Ramallah, Hebron, Haifa, Yaffa, Lyd, and Ramlah. It is time to listen to Palestinian refugees in Gaza who have been deprived of their right to go home. It is time to uplift their voices and demands.

It is time for us to visit Gaza, to think of Gaza as a place that we should be able to visit, and learn about, and support its economy, universities, schools, civil society, artists, intellectuals, activists, researchers, dancers, singers, musicians, chefs, poets, and authors.

It is time to understand the Palestinian experience through the lens of Gaza. That's not to say that Gaza is the only way Palestine can be understood. But Gaza's experience and history are essential to understanding how the Nakba continues to disrupt Palestinian life.

It is time to end the collective punishment of 2.2 million people because of the results of Palestinian elections that took place in 2006.

And it is time for a free and independent Palestine.

About the Author

Jehad Abusalim is the Education and Policy Associate of the Palestine Activism Program at the American Friends Service Committee. He is completing his PhD in the History and Hebrew and Judaic Studies joint program at New York University.