Reprinted from Christian Peacemaker Teams with Permission
30 January 2008
On January 26, almost 2000 people arrived at the Erez Checkpoint, Gaza, in buses, trucks and a long convoy of cars. Participants displayed enthusiasm, energy and hope through Palestinian flags, Hebrew and Arabic signs, two tons of relief food (donated by the participants) as well as 5 tons of essential foodstuffs and water distillers the organizers had purchased. Though demonstrators could not hand the commodities directly to the Gazans, the organizers promised that in the next two days this will be accomplished or they will appeal to the High Court.
Jessica Frederick and Paulette Schroeder, representing the Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron and Sean O’Neill a CPTer from At-Tuwani, along with representatives from at least 26 Israeli human rights and peace activist groups who had organized the Action, traveled in this convoy.
The program included speakers: Nurit Peled Elhanan, Uri Avnery, Dr. Eya al-Sarraj who spoke of solidarity among Jews, Arabs and Christians working toward freedom for Gaza. Nurit Peled Elhanan, an Israeli peace activist whose daughter had been killed by a suicide bomber stated: The world is afraid of the Muslim womb..."Dr. Sarraj from within Gaza on his cellular phone declared with great passion: "Every drop of blood is a crime against humanity." Shir Shusdig, a young Israeli woman from the Israeli village Sderot near the Gaza border, spoke with courage: “For seven years I am suffering from the Qassams (rockets) in Kibbutz Zikum and Sderot. I know that the people on the other side are also suffering very much. That’s why I am here.”
Many journalists and peace activists from around the world recorded the news to send to their constituencies back in the States, Mexico, and Great Britain. One peace activist from Israel, 85 year old Pnira Feiler, a nurse, now serves as a volunteer with Physicians for Human Rights in clinics within the Occupied Palestinian Territories. She is quick to point out: “The Palestinians do not have access to medical services and at many of these checkpoints mothers have babies and people actually die.”
The action to “End the Siege in Gaza” ended as a shining example of Israelis, Palestinians, Christians, and Muslims working together for peace and for humanity.
As of this writing, Israeli authorities have not allowed the supplies into Gaza. Organizers of the action plan to take this issue to the Israeli High Court.
Photos and video of this action are available at: http://www.cpt.org/gallery/ENDtheSEIGE