March 4, 2009 publisher one of 5 Canadians to join 54 international delegates to arrive in Gaza on solidarity mission. Vow to camp on border if blocked, demand its opening.

Five Canadians, including’s publisher, Kim Elliott, have joined a 54-member international International Women’s Day solidarity delegation to Gaza. They will attempt to cross the Egyptian border into war-ravaged Gaza on March 6, carrying 2,000 gift baskets in tribute to the women of Gaza for International Women’s Day, March 8.

The impressive delegation includes Pulitzer Prize winning author Alice Walker, former US State Department official Ann Wright, CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin and Cindy and Craig Corrie, parents of International Solidarity activist, Rachel Corrie. 54 delegates in total from around the world, among them 5 Canadians will take part in the delegation. Organized by the U.S. women’s peace group CODEPINK and coming at the invitation of the Gaza Gender Initiative of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), it is the first delegation of its size and kind to attempt to enter Gaza since July 2007, when Israel imposed the blockade.

If Egyptian authorities deny the group’s entrance, delegates will camp at the border until they get in, said organizer Benjamin. Hundreds of aid workers, lawyers, and convoys carrying humanitarian aid have been denied entrance by Egyptian authorities at the Rafah border. However, Egyptian officials yesterday grato a granted permission for a March 9th entry to a mile-long UK convoy of trucks carrying supplies, a positive step.

Once inside Gaza, the delegation will spend several days visiting refugee camps and hospitals, and witnessing the devastating aftermath of the 22 day Israeli bombardment. The delegation will also meet with and delivering aid to Gaza Community Mental Health Workers, UNRWA Women’s Committee, Trade Unions, Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committe and other UN and NGO groups.

"We have not, as a planet, been seeking to change the world so that this insanity can continue," said delegate Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and poet. "Going to Gaza is our opportunity to express solidarity with the people there, to demonstrate the concern we feel each day for the suffering endured. To remind the people of Gaza and ourselves that we belong to the same world. We can bring our witness, one of life’s strongest gifts."

The delegation will pay tribute to the women of Gaza on United Nations’ International Women’s Day , which calls on the world to focus on the needs and contributions of women. CODEPINK felt inspired to dedicate the day to Gazan women just two months after the devastating Israeli assault on the occupied territory that killed more than 1,300–including 437 children–and injured more than 5,000. "The Israeli attack came after 18 months of a crippling blockade that had already left the Palestinian population hungry, sick, weak and suffering from a catastrophic situation," Wright said. "We must not only provide massive humanitarian aid, but lift the blockade that is keeping the people of Gaza under seige."

Canadian delegates will blog on

Canadian members of the delegation include:

Joanna Zilsel, Gibsons, British Columbia, Canada, works in sustainable building, alternative energy technologies and organic gardening.

Dalia Shabib, is a graduate of Carleton University and is a law student in Canada.  She has family in Gaza.

Sandra Ruch, Toronto, Canada, is a program coordinator and an activist with the Women’s Coalition for Peace in Israel and Independent Jewish Voices in Canada.

Ehab Lotayef, Montreal, Canada, is an engineer and a member of the Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine

Kim Elliott, Ottawa, Canada, is the publisher of the online news and a founding member of CEPAL, the Canadian-Palestinian Educational Exchange and Women Against Occupation


Kim Elliott

Publisher Kim spent her first 16 years on a working family farm in Quebec. Her first memories of rabble rousing are of strike lines, promptly followed by Litton’s closure of the small town...