Gaza Freedom March

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Left Turn Left Turn's picture
Gaza Freedom March

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

[url=http://www.gazafreedommarch.org/article.php?id=5213]Historic Gaza Freedom March to Israeli Border Set For December 31[/url]

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The Gaza Freedom March that will take place in Gaza on December 31 is an historic initiative to break the siege that has imprisoned the 1.5 million people who live there. Conceived in the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and nonviolent resistance to injustice worldwide, the march will gather people from all over the world to march-hand in hand-with the people of Gaza to demand that the Israelis open the borders.

Marking the one-year anniversary of the December 2008 Israeli invasion that left over 1,400 dead, this is a grassroots global response to the inaction on the part of world leaders and institutions. Over 1,000 international delegates from 42 countries have already signed up and more are signing on every day. Participants include Pulitzer Prize winning author Alice Walker, leading Syrian comedian Duraid Lahham, French Senator Alima Boumediene-Thiery, author and Filipino Parliament member Walden Bello, former vice president of European Parliament Luisa Morgantini from Italy, President of the U.S. Center for Constitutional Rights Attorney Michael Ratner, Japanese former Ambassador to Lebanon Naoto Amaki, French hip-hop artists Ministere des Affaires Populaires, and 85-year-old Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein.

...

Quote:
The international delegates will enter Gaza via Egypt during the last week of December. In the morning December 31, they will join Palestinians in a non-violent march from Northern Gaza to the Erez/Israeli border. On the Israeli side of the Erez border will be a gathering of Palestinians and Jews who are also calling on the Israeli government to open the border.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

[url=http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2009/12/23-6]Will Egypt Prevent Marchers from Entering Gaza?[/url]

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CODEPINK recently put out a statement: "Citing escalating tensions on the Gaza-Egypt border, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry informed us on Dec. 20 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 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 1,360 delegates coming from over 42 countries to change their plans now.

"Although we consider this as a setback, it is something we've encountered -- and overcome -- before. No delegation, large or small, that has entered Gaza over the past 12 months has 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."

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Good luck to the marchers.  If Egypt refuses to let them in, the Israeli government needs to do the decent and human thing and let them in from the Israeli side.

There is no longer any excuse for the blockade of Gaza.  It's never had any positive effect on the situation, and it probably kept Hamas' support up when it would otherwise have collapsed.

NDPP
Left Turn Left Turn's picture

[url=http://gazafreedommarch.wordpress.com/2009/12/25/open-letter-to-presiden... LETTER TO PRESIDENT MUBARAK FROM THE GAZA FREEDOM MARCH[/url]

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Dear President Mubarak;

We, representing 1,362 individuals from 43 countries arriving in Cairo to participate in the Gaza Freedom March, are pleading to the Egyptians and your reputation for hospitality.

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The idea of the Gaza Freedom March-a nonviolent march to the Israeli Erez crossing- emerged during one of our trips to Gaza in May, a trip that was kindly facilitated by the Egyptian government. Ever since the idea emerged, we have been talking to your government through your embassies overseas and directly with your Foreign Ministries. Your representatives have been kind and supportive. We were asked to furnish information about all the participants-passports, dates of birth, occupations-which we have done in good faith. We have answered every question, met every request. For months we have been working under the assumption that your government would facilitate our passage, as it has done on so many other occasions. We waited and waited for an answer.

Meanwhile, time was getting short and we had to start organizing. Travel over the Christmas season is not easy in the countries where many of us live. Tickets have to be purchased weeks, if not months, in advance. This is what all 1,362 individuals did. They spent their own funds or raised money from their communities to pay their way. Add to this the priceless time, effort and sacrifice by all these people to be away from their homes and loved ones during their festive season.

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Quote:
If the Egyptian government decides to prevent the Gaza Freedom March, all this work and cost is lost.

And that's not all. It is practically impossible, this late in the game, to stop all these people from travelling to Egypt, even if we wanted to. Moreover, most have no plans in Egypt other than to arrive at a predetermined meeting point to head together to the Gaza border. If these plans are cancelled there will be a lot of unjustified suffering for the Palestinians of Gaza and over a thousand internationals who had nothing in mind but noble intentions.

We plead to you to let the Gaza Freedom March continue so that we can join the Palestinians of Gaza to march together on December 31, 2009.

We are truly hopeful that we will receive a positive response from you and thank you for your assistance.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

**Please Forward Widely**

Vancouver's Gaza Freedom March
In solidarity with the real Gaza Freedom march.
Friday January 1st 2010 at 3:00 PM

On December 31st, 2009 the largest-ever international delegation will hold a massive non-violent demonstration aimed at breaking the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza, marching from Gaza into Israel.

Standing in solidarity with them, and expressing our desire to end the occupation on the anniversary of the Gaza Massacre- we will be holding a demonstration in Vancouver itself!!! Vancouver's own Gaza Freedom March will be held at the Vancouver Art Gallery (750 Hornby Street) on FRIDAY JANUARY 1st 2010, in solidarity with those who will be attending the march in Gaza. This is for those of us who unfortunately are not able to attend the march in Gaza- so PLEASE INVITE all your friends so that we can have AS many people as possible in this solidarity march that is going to take place ACROSS THE GLOBE!

The protest will begin at 3pm, and will end by 7pm so that after we are done with our march, we can ring in the new year in hopes that the siege will be broken once and for all!

If you are interested in donating money to help make Vancouver's Gaza Freedom March a success, please email sphr.ubc@gmail. com if you're interested in donating.

Vancouver Gaza Freedom March on Friday January 1st, 2010- at the Vancouver Art Gallery at 3pm. Check out the facebook event [url=http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=app_2344061033&vm=all&gid=9996566926... and invite all of your friends!

 

NDPP

Lest We Forget: Gaza Genocide 27.12.2008 - 18.01.2009

"On 27.12.2008, Israel launched a premeditated wide-scale terrorist attack on the besieged, unarmed civilian population of Gaza

http://ow.ly/PYXl

Gaza Freedom March Toronto, Dec 27, 1:00 PM 180 Bloor St W

 

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

[url=http://www.rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/gazadelegation/2009/12/egyptian-secu... security forces detain Gaza Freedom Marchers at El-Aris[/url]

Quote:
Egyptian Security Forces Detain Gaza Freedom Marchers in El-Arish and shut down Gaza Memorial in Cairo

What: Egyptian security forces detain internationals in el-Arish, break up memorial actions in Cairo

When: Sunday, December 27, noon: the Egyptian security forces detained a group of 30 internationals in their hotel in el-Arish and another group of 8 at the bus station. They also broke up a memorial action commemorating the Cast Lead massacre at the Kasr al Nil Bridge

 

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

[url=http://www.rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/gazadelegation/2009/12/toronto-peace... peace activists march in solidarity with Gaza[/url]

Quote:
Today in Toronto over 1000 peace activists from many different backgrounds and organizations marched in solidarity to end the illegal siege of Gaza. They marched from the Israeli consulate at 180 Bloor Street to Dundas Square. They marched as part of the International Gaza Freedom March.

 

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

[url=http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/12/2009122913512058852... blocks US activists' march[/url]

Quote:
Egyptian security forces have attempted to prevent dozens of US activists from reaching their embassy in Cairo.

Hoping to ask the American ambassador for help in reaching the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, some 41 American citizens instead found themselves surrounded by riot police.

All those rounded up were members of the Gaza Freedom Marchers organisation, a group planning to travel to Gaza to protest an Egyptian and Israeli blockade of the besieged territory.

However, one activist, Ali Abunimah, a co-founder of The Electronic Intifada website, told Al Jazeera that the US embassy did eventually allow US citizens to enter their embassy in groups of ten.

"We met with a political rep. in the embassy, Greg Legrefo, and talked about the dire situation in Gaza and international complicity for more than hour .... but the bottom line is the US supports the siege of Gaza.

"The US Army Corps of Engineers is even providing technical assistance to build an underground wall [to stop the Gaza tunnel networks from operating]."

 

[url=http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/12/200912281583520582.... aid convoy to change course[/url]

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Organisers of the Viva Palestina aid convoy, which is trying to reach the Gaza Strip, have agreed to travel via Syria en route to Egypt.

The agreement came after a Turkish mediator reached a deal with the Egyptian consul in Jordan's Red Sea port of Aqaba.

The convoy will now head to the Syrian port of Latakia to sail from there to the Egyptian port of El Arish, and then to Gaza.

The Viva Palestina convoy, which has been stranded in Aqaba for the past five days, is led by George Galloway, a British MP.

A statement from the Egyptian Ministry of Information said that Galloway had been told by November 10 that the convoy had to travel through El Arish.

NDPP

Egypt Approves Gaza Freedom March - Viva Palestina Blunders Paperwork and Blames Egypt

http://sabbah.biz/mt/archives/2009/12/30/egypt-approves-gaza-freedom-mar...

NDPP

Gaza's Border Must Be Opened Now!

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/12/30-6

"This time is clearly different..."

 

NDPP

Activists Reject Egypt's Gaza Offer

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/48842

Egypt offered to allow 100 entry into Gaza

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Obviously, the U.S. made the Egyptians sabotage the march.  This also greatly increases the risk that the Israelis will use brute force to suppress the march when it reaches the Gaza border, since they won't have to worry about outsiders seeing what's happening.  No foreigners, no cameras means the IDF thinks it can slaughter as many Gazans as it wants. 

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

[url=http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/12/200912319314796808.... held against Gaza siege[/url]

Quote:
Activists, both from Gaza and abroad, have held demonstrations on either side of an Israeli border crossing to the Palestinian territory, protesting against its continued siege by Israel.

Hundreds of protesters gathered around the Erez crossing on Thursday, to denounce the blockade that has forced Gazans into untold misery.

Nisreen el-Shamayleh, Al Jazeera's correspondent who was on the Israeli side of the crossing, estimated that about 600 protesters were present, many from the mainly-Arab neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem.

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Quote:
On the Gaza side of the border, the demonstration was slower to get started, but protesters there were joined by 86 activists from the Gaza Freedom March, an international group that has been trying to get into Gaza with food and supplies.

Most of the Gaza Freedom March's 1,300-strong group were refused entry into Gaza by Egypt, which controls the Rafah crossing point, because of what Egyptian authorities said was the "sensitive situation" in the territory.

 

 

Gus Williams

Left Turn wrote:

[url=http://www.rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/gazadelegation/2009/12/toronto-peace... peace activists march in solidarity with Gaza[/url]

Quote:
Today in Toronto over 1000 peace activists from many different backgrounds and organizations marched in solidarity to end the illegal siege of Gaza. They marched from the Israeli consulate at 180 Bloor Street to Dundas Square. They marched as part of the International Gaza Freedom March.
All the reports I read said there were between 2-300 Marchers. Either they are all lying or someone here is exagerrating big time. Either way it doesn't look good.

 

NDPP

I was there. Someone is indeed "exagerrating big time".

Polunatic2

I was also there and would agree that there were less than 1,000 but even a showing of 500 is respectable and newsworthy. I don't think it helps build the cause to pump up numbers.

I wish the marchers in Gaza well today. 

Prophit

I agree Polunatic2. And for the record here is the story as it was reported in the Toronto Sun.

http://www.torontosun.com/news/torontoandgta/2009/12/28/12281741-sun.html

And the specific paragraph dealing with the numbers:

"On the south side of Bloor St., waving Palestinian flags and chanting, "Free, free Palestine," around 200 gathered in support of the Gaza Freedom March. The march, protesting the siege of Gaza, is expected to take place in Egypt on Dec. 31."

Seems 200 is closer to the truth from a journalist who you would think does not have an agenda.

Polunatic2

Numbers can be a funny thing. I think it's okay to estimate a bit on the high side because people come and go. Not all 500 are necessarily there at the same time. If there were only 200 on the south side, then there were only 50 on the north side. 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

In the U.S., the general rule of thumb on protest crowd size(at least the one I use)is

at least two/thirds higher than the police estimate...

at least one/third lower than the organizer estimate.

 

 

Polunatic2

Or one could always try counting if they crowd's not too big :) 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Well, easy math is not usually the main objective for those who organize these events.

NDPP
Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Well, the Egyptian GOVERNMENT, anyway.  The Egyptian people may be a bunch of complete sweetypies, for all we'd know.

Jaku

A friend of mine was there on the 27t, a woman I trust. She estimated around 500 pro-Gaza marchers and about 300 pro-Israeli counter demonstrators.

Polunatic2

OK, getting back on track here. Below is an amazing report from Cairo from Starhawk's blog, Dirt Worship. 

Gaza Freedom March: A Powerful Day of Action 12-31-09

Quote:
  We all drifted into the area around the Museum where our plan called for us to gather unobtrusively and then flash-mob into the streets.  I wasn’t sure this was going to work.  Nobody was sure this was going to work—but it was the plan and at this point that was all we had.  The police were out in force around the museum because we had organized this in classic nonviolent mode, openly and not secretly.  That was a good thing, because communication has been so excruciatingly difficult when we are trying to simply tell each other something that adding security culture and secret codes on top of it would have made everything utterly incomprehensible to most of us, while the secret police would still have known what we were going to do.    There they were…there we were.  The clock was ticking—it was almost ten.  An officer came towards Lisa, trying to move us further down the road.  The traffic opened…and she took the space, running out into the traffic and unfurling a flag.  We followed, and suddenly, from all over small groups of people were swarming and collecting and filling the road.

 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

Good for them. 

Jaku

Diogenes wrote:

Jaku wrote:

A friend of mine was there on the 27t, a woman I trust. She estimated around 500 pro-Gaza marchers and about 300 pro-Israeli counter demonstrators.

And so that nets out to 200, right? 

 

<sarcasm>All those who trust numbers from a trusted friend of Jaku's, raise their hand, but in a politically correct, semetic kind of way.</sarcasm>

Sorry i have no idea what your sarcasm is about and especially why you felt the need to add "in a semetic (sp?)" kind of way. Only trying to report what I was told.

Diogenes Diogenes's picture

Uh, sorry Jaku, I was pissed about Harper proroguing parliament and I took it on you. Retracted.

Diogenes Diogenes's picture

...

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

point of information, Jaku:

What is your opinion on the continuation of the Siege of Gaza?

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

[url=http://aliabunimah.posterous.com/gaza-freedom-marchers-issue-cairo-decla... Freedom Marchers issue 'Cairo Declaration': End Israeli Apartheid[/url]

Quote:

January 1, 2010

We, international delegates meeting in Cairo during the Gaza Freedom March 2009 in collective response to an initiative from the South African delegation, state:

In view of:

* Israel's ongoing collective punishment of Palestinians through the illegal occupation and siege of Gaza;
* the illegal occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the continued construction of the illegal Apartheid Wall and settlements;
* the new Wall under construction by Egypt and the US which will tighten even further the siege of Gaza;
* the contempt for Palestinian democracy shown by Israel, the US, Canada, the EU and others after the Palestinian elections of 2006;
* the war crimes committed by Israel during the invasion of Gaza one year ago;
* the continuing discrimination and repression faced by Palestinians within Israel;
* and the continuing exile of millions of Palestinian refugees;
* all of which oppressive acts are based ultimately on the Zionist ideology which underpins Israel;
* in the knowledge that our own governments have given Israel direct economic, financial, military and diplomatic support and allowed it to behave with impunity;
* and mindful of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (2007)

We reaffirm our commitment to:

Palestinian Self-Determination
Ending the Occupation
Equal Rights for All within historic Palestine
The full Right of Return for Palestinian refugees

We therefore reaffirm our commitment to the United Palestinian call of July 2005 for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) to compel Israel to comply with international law.

To that end, we call for and wish to help initiate a global mass, democratic anti-apartheid movement to work in full consultation with Palestinian civil society to implement the Palestinian call for BDS.

 

Gus Williams

Ken Burch wrote:

point of information, Jaku:

What is your opinion on the continuation of the Siege of Gaza?

I suspect jaku can speak for himself but I always wonder about the futility of confronting babblers. I suppose it is fair to say that had Jaku an opinion he wished to share he would do so. He does not strike me as the shy type.

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

My post was a request for clafirication, not confrontation.  I didn't want to assume I knew what his views on the matter would be.

DavidJH

"Seems 200 is closer to the truth from a journalist who you would think does not have an agenda."

Everyone who thinks the Sun "does not have an agenda" raise their keyboard.

Whether or not Sun journalists individually have an agenda, their employer most definitely does. Sun editors have a long history of regularly discounting protest numbers as submitted by their own journalists if they think they sound "too high". When I lived in TO this meant they routinely halved numbers as counted by bystanders.

I wasn't there Dec. 27 (too busy in Cairo) but I would say there is good reason be suspicious of numbers as reported by the Sun.

NDPP

Blocking Freedom Marchers/Viva Palestina Aid to Gaza

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com

"Besides wanting access to Gaza and the siege ended, marchers want to stop Egypt (with US Army Corps of Engineers help and Congressional funding) from building a 9-10 km long iron wall across its Gaza border, extending up to 30 meters below ground tp prevent essential goods reaching the Strip through hundreds of tunnels..."

NDPP

VIVA PALESTINA ENTERS GAZA! by George Galloway (and vid)

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article24336.htm

"The Viva Palestina Convoy after facing ongoing Egyptian rejection and violent attacks by the Egyptian security forces, started on Wednesday evening to roll into the besieged Gaza strip..."

NDPP

When Israel Snaps Its Fingers British Ministers Jump

http://www.redress.cc/global/slittlewood20100108

"What is absurd is that murderous Israelis, with the stench of mega-deaths on them, expect to be let into the UK...

While the Viva Palestina convoy drama was playing out a delegation of senior Israeli military officers cancelled a planned visit to the UK for fear of being arrested over alleged war crimes in Gaza.

With the insufferable arrogance we have come to expect from Israelis, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon demanded from Britain's Attorney General, Baroness Scotland, an immediate solution to the 'intolerable' situation.."

Settler Violence Report November-December 2009

http://www.alternativenews.org/english/2363-settler-violence-report-nove...

 

"Canada is so friendly that there was no need to convince or explain anything to anyone. Members both of the coalition and the opposition are loyal friends to us. It's hard to find a country friendlier to Israel than Canada. We need allies like this in the international arena..."

Avigdor Lieberman, Minister Foreign Affairs

Diogenes Diogenes's picture

Galloway deported from Egypt

So how much is Israel paying Egypt or (more likely) Mubarak for this?

Prophit

It makes Babble seem petty and silly when everything is simply blamed on Israel.

NDPP

It's a Long Way March to Freedom

http://wewillreturn.blogspot.com/2010/01/its-long-march-to-freedom.html

"It seemed that this might have been a watershed moment to make Palestine present. However something happened.

Rather than talk about the Gaza war and making Israel receive a quantity of publicity that it thought it might escape, as it has thus far, the activists were protesting against Egypt...

Why the shift, so suddenly? And the protagonists are Internationals.

As if it was not necessary in the past to protest against the actions of any country that had penned in or in any way constricted or obstructed Palestinian rights [Canada]

Why was it that the enemy, the MAJOR enemy was shifted to Egypt and only NOW and not at all during the siege?

How did Israel get off the hook in less than one day!? What is up with that we asked one another. No one was even talking about US complicity. It seemed as if the whole problem was Egypt.

And worse that the only thing to be liberated was Gaza and not all of Palestine. What a nightmare for a Palestinian:

To have their struggle co-opted into some other agenda..."

NDPP

Egypt-Palestine: The Wall of Shame

http://www.english.globalarabnetwork.com/201001084294/Palestine-Politics...

"As for the fatwas of government appointed ulama, these things too will pass; they will pass and will be forgotten. Happily forgotten. For the duty of memory is transformed into forgetfulness when it comes to the news and the acts of dicators, traitors and cowards..'

NDPP

Abbas Must Be Stoned if Proven Guility

http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=115700&sectionid=351020202

"Doha based Egyptian scholar Sheikh Yusuf al Qaradawi says if it is proven that acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas instigated the Israeli war against Gaza, he must be stoned.."