More than 250 artists and writers from around the world called on Israel to end its blockade of Gaza in an online letter late last week, which has been enforced by Israel and Egypt since 2007 following Hamas's take over the Strip, according to a report by AlJazeera.
Some of the prominent names pressuring for an end to the blockade include Peter Gabriel, British filmmaker Ken Loach, and Hollywood actor Viggo Mortensen, who called on Israel to end its "siege" of the Gaza Strip, while also saying that the coronavirus pandemic will have disastrous results in "the world's largest open-air prison".
Other famous signatories include poet Taha Adnan, Jewish-Canadian writer Naomi Klein, and the British Trip-hop group Massive Attack.
"Long before the global outbreak of COVID-19 threatened to overwhelm the already devastated healthcare system in Gaza, the UN had predicted the blockaded coastal strip would be unlivable by 2020," the online letter claimed.
The letter added that "with the pandemic, Gaza's almost two million inhabitants, predominantly refugees, face a mortal threat in the world's largest open-air prison."
"Well before the ongoing crisis, Gaza's hospitals were already stretched to breaking point through a lack of essential resources denied by Israel's siege. Its healthcare system could not cope with the thousands of gunshot wounds, leading to many amputations," the artists highlighted in the letter.
"Reports of the first cases of coronavirus in densely populated Gaza are therefore deeply disturbing. We back Amnesty International's call on all world governments to impose a military embargo on Israel until it fully complies with its obligations under international law."
Israel and Egypt, citing security concerns, maintain a de-facto land, air and sea blockade of the Gaza Strip, following the Palestinian Islamist terrorist organization Hamas's take over after the 2006 Palestinian election, and subsequent Fatah-Hamas conflict culminating in a Hamas victory during the 2007 Battle of Gaza.