Thursday, December 24, 2009
Unfortunately, Egypt is not willing to allow the marchers to enter Gaza from Egypt, thus confirming the isolation of the people of Gaza:
Israel’s blockade of Gaza is a flagrant violation of international law that has led to mass suffering. The U.S., the European Union, and the rest of the international community are complicit.
The law is clear. The conscience of humankind is shocked. Yet, the siege of Gaza continues. It is time for us to take action! On Dec. 31, we will end the year by marching alongside the Palestinian people of Gaza in a non-violent demonstration that breaches the illegal blockade.
Our purpose in this March is lifting the siege on Gaza. We demand that Israel end the blockade. We also call upon Egypt to open Gaza’s Rafah border. Palestinians must have freedom to travel for study, work, and much-needed medical treatment and to receive visitors from abroad.
As an international coalition we are not in a position to advocate a specific political solution to this conflict. Yet our faith in our common humanity leads us to call on all parties to respect and uphold international law and fundamental human rights to bring an end to the Israeli military occupation of Palestinian territories since 1967 and pursue a just and lasting peace.
The march can only succeed if it arouses the conscience of humanity.
There is also this link where you can send an e-mail directly to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Egypt. For updates related to the March, go here and also here, Jewbonics, a blog maintained by Max Ajl, one of the participants. His most recent post describes the vulnerability of the people of Gaza to viruses like H1N1.
We are determined to break the siege
We all will continue to do whatever we can to make it happen
Using the pretext of escalating tensions on the Gaza-Egypt border, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry informed us yesterday that the Rafah border will be closed over the coming weeks, into January. We responded that there is always tension at the border because of the siege, that we do not feel threatened, and that if there are any risks, they are risks we are willing to take. We also said that it was too late for over 1,300 delegates coming from over 42 countries to change their plans now. We both agreed to continue our exchanges.
Although we consider this as a setback, it is something we've encountered-and overcome--before. No delegation, large or small, that entered Gaza over the past 12 months has ever received a final OK before arriving at the Rafah border. Most delegations were discouraged from even heading out of Cairo to Rafah. Some had their buses stopped on the way. Some have been told outright that they could not go into Gaza. But after public and political pressure, the Egyptian government changed its position and let them pass.
Our efforts and plans will not be altered at this point. We have set out to break the siege of Gaza and march on December 31 against the Israeli blockade. We are continuing in the same direction.
Egyptian embassies and missions all over the world must hear from our supporters (by phone, fax and email)** over the coming crucial days, with a clear message: Let the international delegation enter Gaza and let the Gaza Freedom March proceed.
Contact your local consulate here:
Contact the Palestine Division in Ministry of Foreign Affairs, CairoIf you are in the U.S., contact the Egyptian Embassy, 202-895-5400 and ask for Omar Youssef or email omaryoussef [at] hotmail.com
Ahmed Azzam, tel +202-25749682 Email: ahmed.azzam [at] mfa.gov.eg