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Relief convoy to Gaza on Global Day of Action, January 26th


Saturday 26.1.08: A countrywide relief convoy and Israeli demonstration in solidarity on the Gaza border with a parallel Palestinian demonstration in the Strip.

On Saturday, 26 January 2008, a humanitarian convoy of supplies headed by peace and human rights organisations will go from Haifa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Beer Sheva to the Gaza Strip border, decked with signs “Lift the Blockade!” The convoy will meet up at 12.00 noon at Yad Mordechai Junction and all will then travel together to a hill which overlooks the Strip, where a demonstration will take place at 13:00. Speakers will be Shulamit Aloni, Uri Avnery, Ronit Matalon, Hassan Jabareen and Prof. Jeff Halper. There will be a ‘phone link between the Israeli demo and hundreds of Gazans on the Gaza side in Gaza City at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, demonstrating as part of the Palestinian-International Campaign to End the Siege,” one of whose spokesmen is psychiatrist and human rights activist, Dr. Eyad Sarraj.

The convoy will contain sacks of flour, food supplies and other essential products, especially water filters. Water supplies in Gaza are polluted, with nitrates at a level ten times the maximum recommended by the World Health Organisation. Due to the Israeli blockade, Gaza has a critical shortage of water filters, creating an intolerable violation of minimum humanitarian standards.

Organisers of the convoy will be appealing to the army for immediate permission for the goods to be allowed into the Strip, and are prepared for an ongoing campaign next to the border crossings, together with a public and judicial appeal; nearby kibbutzim, which are within the range of the Qassam rockets and mortars, have offered their warehouses for storage of the convoy’s goods.

A simultaneous demonstration will be taking place in Rome, Italy. There will also be demonstrations in various cities in America, at the initiative of San Francisco-based Jewish Voice for Peace.

To travel as part of the event, you may go in one of the convoys (8.30 a.m. departure from Reading Terminal in Tel Aviv, 8.45 a.m. from Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem) or join the general convoy as it leaves at 12 noon from Yad Mordechai Junction, or go individually to the demo, which will take place at “Nabiya Maraai Lookout,” near Kibbutz Mefalsim (from Yad Mordechai Junction, go on Road 34 and at Gavim Junction turn right onto Road 232, after about 6 kms, immediately after Kibbutz Mefalsim, turn right and go for a short distance to the site). A map showing the site of the demonstration is available on the website: http://toibillboard.info/26janmap.jpg

For further details: Adam Keller, Gush Shalom (0506-709603), Adi Dagan, Coalition of Women for Peace (0508-575730), Angela Godfrey-Goldstein, ICAHD (0547-366393).

Dr. Eyad Sarraj (Gaza), End the Siege on Gaza campaign, (0599-408438), Marwan Diab (Gaza), End the Siege on Gaza campaign, (0599-462037).

Participating organisations: Gush Shalom, Combatants for Peace, Coalition of Women for Peace, ICAHD – The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, Bat Shalom, Bat Tzafon for Peace and Equality, Balad, Hadash, Adalah, Tarabut-Hithabrut, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, AIC – The Alternative Information Center, Psychoactive – Mental Health Workers for Human Rights, ActiveStills, The Students Coalition (Tel Aviv University), New Profile, MachsomWatch, PCATI – The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Yesh Gvul, Gisha, Local Television on the Internet.

Background: Despite unilateral evacuation of 7,000 settlers, the Gaza Strip remains Occupied Territory and the situation of its residents is increasingly worsening. The Government of Israel continues to control its airspace, territorial waters, population registry, tax system, supply of goods, freedom of movement and access to healthcare. Entry and exit of people and goods is completely controlled by Israel, and is currently under total closure, so that the Strip has actually become the largest prison in the world.

We sympathize with Sderot’s residents and others living near the border, exposed to traumatising Qassam rockets, but siege and collective punishment are no answer: although 1.5 million men, women and children are denied basic necessities, driven to the edge of starvation, Israel is increasing the daily deathtoll among Palestinians, many of whom are civilians, whilst the rocket fire has increased. Few Israelis ask why several Palestinian ceasefire offers have been rejected out of hand by the Israeli government. We’ll go to the Gaza border, in co-operation with Palestinian partners inside Gaza, to show there’s an alternative to siege and rocketfire – an alternative of peace.

Contributions for the purchase of supplies may be sent to P.O. Box 3322, Tel Aviv 61033, and cheques should be made out to “Gush Shalom” and labelled “For the Gaza convoy”, or you may make your donations to organisers actually at the demonstration.