The size of this delegation keeps growing! Here is a media release for a press conference to be held today.
Novelist Alice Walker, parents of Rachel Corrie, activist Medea Benjamin to announce trip itinerary, purpose
WHAT: Press conference of 60-member international aid delegation to Gaza to support Gazan women
WHEN: 3 p.m. Thursday, March 5
WHERE: Lobby of Arabesque Hotel, 6th floor. 11 Ramsis St., Abdel Mounim Riad Square, Cairo, Egypt
CAIRO -- In a press conference here March 5, representatives from the inspiring 60-member international aid delegation to Gaza will announce the itinerary and purpose behind their week-long visit from Cairo through war-torn Gaza this week. The delegation includes Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Alice Walker , Craig and Cindy Corrie, parents of the 23-year-old Rachel Corrie who was struck and killed by an Israeli Defense Forces bulldozer in Gaza six years ago, and other Americans, Canadians, Australians and Europeans. The delegates include members of the Jewish and Muslim communities, as well as doctors, businesspeople, lawyers and students.
The historic delegation, the first of its size and kind to attempt to enter Gaza since July 2007, will meet with Palestinian aid groups, Gazan women, and United Nations officials. It will bear witness to the devastation from the three-week Israeli invasion earlier this year that killed more than 1,300 Palestinians, including 400 children, and deliver 2,000 gift baskets to Gazan women, purchased through an outpouring of donations through the CODEPINK website to honor Gazan women on International Women's Day , March 8.
"We've had an overwhelming positive response from women worldwide to this delegation and its mission," Benjamin said. "We thought 15 people would give their time and energy to this trip, but now we have 60. We thought we'd take 200 gift baskets, and we're taking 2,000. American women feel tremendous compassion toward the women of Gaza and are ready for a U.S. policy based on respect for the human rights of all people in the region."
Traveling at the invitation of the Gaza Gender Initiative of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the delegation will camp out at the Rafah border if Egyptian authorities prevent them from entering Gaza, Benjamin said. Most humanitarian groups and aid have been denied entry. Delegates will also pressure the U.S. government to demand Israel lift the blockade and halt settlement expansion into Palestinian land.
"I have been to Gaza several times since my daughter's death," said Cindy Corrie, mother of Rachel Corrie. "But now it is so important for me to go back, after the people of Gaza have suffered such outrageous devastation - beyond understanding, beyond imagination. I feel a personal need to show the people that I am in solidarity with them, and that I will continue to be in solidarity until the women and children and families have the same opportunities that my family has."
Medea Benjamin , CODEPINK co-founder, 018 9561919 (in Cairo)
Jean Stevens , CODEPINK national media coordinator, 508-769-2138 (in U.S.)
For more information, please call Jean Stevens, national media coordinator, at 508-769-2138 or Medea Benjamin, delegation organizer and CODEPINK co-founder, at 018 9561919 (in Cairo).