Statement by Dr. Eyyad Sarraj

Dr. Eyyad Sarraj, Director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Program, speaking from Gaza to a PIJ public event in Tel Aviv via phone on 29/10/07. I would like to send to you from Gaza my warm regards, in the hope that this meeting will be productive and helpful for organizing, for ending the occupation of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza and for peace - for peace, for respect of human dignity and rights of all sides, and for security. Today the situation in Gaza is so grim. When I am speaking to you, aircraft of the Israeli air force are circling the sky in Gaza. When I am talking to you, supermarkets and shops in Gaza are seeking products. Gaza used to import daily around 9,100 items of products. Today we are down to12 items, basic foods. Water is not allowed, fruit is not allowed and cleaning materials are not allowed. Thousands of items that you'd think you need for human beings daily lives are not allowed. The siege is growing stronger, and this reality leaves the road open for extremist ideologies to flourish. Unfortunately, according to the Sharon plan, the first goal is that Gaza and the West Bank will be separated. And what is the plan of this government? They want to go back to what was before 1967. They don't realize that the situation before 67' was the reason for war, not for peace. Peace cannot be obtained unilaterally. Peace cannot be reached by people who encourage violence and promote violence. What the Israeli government is doing today is to encourage extremism. Dividing the world into bad and good, we are the good, they are the bad. At the same time, extreme ideologies are trying to counteract this by saying: we are the good, they are the bad. I believe that all human beings are good.

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