The first week in March, I'm going on a humanitarian delegation to Gaza with author Alice Walker and 48 others to show solidarity with Gazan women for International Women's Day March 8th. We are going with CodePink Women for Peace http://www.codepink4peace.org/article.php?id=4675 at the invitation of the Women’s Division of the UN Works Relief Agency (UNWRA).
There’s no guarantee that we’ll get in, as borders are once again sealed as they were for the 18 months before Israel’s assault. But we’ll try. If we don’t get in, we’ll call attention to Israel’s stranglehold over Palestinian land and lives. If we do get in, I thought it would be great to bring messages from folks back home.
So if you’d like, you can send an email to me, for Gazans, with “Gaza message” in subject line. I’ll print the emails up and carry them to Cairo with me…and hopefully into Gaza.
The CodePink delegation isn’t the only one that will be attempting to get into Gaza that week. A mile-long convoy that originated in London is due to arrive at the Rafah gate in early March. 110 vehicles will be honking to get in!
You can learn more about this convoy of 300 drivers and activists (bringing 8 ambulances from Scotland – since Israel destroyed so many ambulances in this brutal assault – a firetruck, and a fishing boat)
by going to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxKq6xuToh0 and also www.vivapalestina.org or www.gazaconvoy.com
I ask that you hold me in your thoughts for a successful journey and safe return, and that if you’re inclined, you call and/or write your Congressional Reps and ask them to urge the Egyptian government to let our delegation into Rafah on March 7th. Palestinian women have suffered unimaginable horrors – some seeing, as have men, their children killed right before their eyes (and some children have seen their parents gruesomely killed – like the small children found next to their mothers’ decaying corpses because Israel wouldn’t let ambulances near the wounded and/or dead for several days). Some have been horribly burned by Israel’s illegal use of white phosphorus SEE AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL’s call for Secretary Clinton for:
an investigation into Israel’s use of U.S. arms in Gaza;
a suspension of U.S. military aid to Israel;
and to urge the United Nations to impose an arms embargo on all parties in the conflict
You can urge Secy Clinton to do so here http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/siteapps/advocacy/index.aspx?c=jhKPIXPCIoE&b=2590179&template=x.ascx&action=11787&tr=y&auid=4542038
Some Gazans have had their homes bulldozed (23,500 Palestinian homes have been bulldozed since 1967, which includes over 3,600 homes estimated to have been destroyed in the recent Gaza conflict http://www.icahd.org/eng/articles.asp?menu=6&submenu=2&article=517
No more should Israel & now Egypt be able to cage Gazans the way they have for the 18 months before the recent slaughter…and since. And for 41 years, Israel has maintained a military occupation of Palestinian land and lives. Time for freedom, justice and human rights for Palestinians.
For more information on the stranglehold Israel has over Gaza (which is oft referred to as “the world’s largest outdoor prison”) as well as over the West Bank, please visit the website of the Israeli Human Rights group B’Tselem http://www.btselem.org/english/statistics/Index.asp
For stories of Israel’s assault on civilians, you can go to http://www.btselem.org/english/testimonies/index.asp?TF=30&image.x=40&image.y=13
National Lawyer’s Guild: NLG Members in Gaza Document Executions of Civilians, Blocking of Humanitarian Aid, and Destruction of Civil Property http://www.nlg.org/news/index.php?entry=entry090205-125948
And Human Rights Watch “Choking Gaza Harms Civilians” http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/02/18/israelegypt-choking-gaza-harms-civilians
Help free Gazans (and Palestinians in the West Bank – just this week the Israeli settlement of Efrat confiscated another 400+ acres in Bethlehem behind the Hope Flowers School to expand the settlement. All settlements are illegal under international law. ) Even former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel must give up the dream of taking all the land; must get out of the West Bank and share Jerusalem http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1845831,00.html
Please, continue to get informed. Write letters to the editor. Write to your congressional representatives. Ask them to hold Israel accountable for their collective punishment of 1.5 million Gazans with the illegal siege and for using US-made white phosphorus illegally in densely-populated civilian areas http://www.ufppc.org/content/view/8363/35/
and http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/20/gaza-white-phosphorus where civilians had no means of escape (also illegal under international law). SEE AMNESTY ALERT previously mentioned
As Alice Walker says in her message, “we can offer what we are.” http://codepink4peace.org/blog/2009/02/alice-walker-we-can-offer-what-we-are/ You can “join” in solidarity by emailing me a message for Gazans if you’d like.
And if you feel moved to do so, you can donate $10 to buy a basket of vitamins and first aid material for Gazan women, plus a pink headscarf and some tea and sweets at https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/424/shop/custom.jsp?donate_page_KEY=4489 «span>https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/424/shop/custom.jsp?donate_page_KEY=4489>
All best, Linda Frank </span></p>
PS - With so many acknowledging that Israel’s illegal settlement project has foreclosed on the possibility of a 2-state solution, it’s looking like Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions in response to Israeli apartheid is a growing course of response http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?list=type&type=203 and www.ufppc.org/content/view/8288/35/ The Church of England recently divested 3.3 million in investments from Caterpillar Corporation, whose bulldozers are used in contravention to international law and US law to illegally demolish Palestinian homes. Hampshire College recently divested (they were the first to divest from South African apartheid). A British telecom called their Israeli partner right after the Gaza assault to say they could no longer do business with them.