Lora Lucero New Mexico 0

Do not prevent Americans from traveling to the Gaza Strip

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I'm an American attempting to return to Gaza to teach and bear witness to the daily struggle of the Palestinians living there. I was last in Gaza September 2012 - May 2013.

For nearly a decade, the State of Israel has blockaded the Gaza Strip, preventing thousands of Palestinians and foreigners from traveling to and from Gaza through the Erez Crossing in the north.

The only other access into or out of the Gaza Strip is the Rafah Crossing on its southern border with Egypt. In 2013, this crossing was open 264 days; in 2014, 124 days; and, as of December, only 21 days in 2015.

Following Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in 2014, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs introduced a requirement stating that before it will issue clearance to travel to Gaza, foreigners must provide documentation from their embassies.

In 2011, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo provided written waivers of liability and responsibility to travelers asking to visit Gaza. This year, however, the U.S. Embassy has refused to provide waivers or documentation. It also has refused to meet with American citizens wanting to travel to Gaza.

Many Americans wish to travel to Gaza to volunteer their time and talents, to learn about the reality on the ground, and to stand in solidarity with the Palestinians.

We petition Ambassador Beecroft and Deputy Chief of Mission Goldberger in the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to resume issuing waivers to American citizens who wish to travel to Gaza.

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