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Leftists protest siege on Gaza

Daniel Edelson | YNet News

7 June 2009

Dozens of left-wing activists arrived at the Erez crossing Sunday morning with sweets, toys, food items and medicines they asked to transfer to Gaza in defiance of the Israeli siege on the Hamas-ruled territory.

In protest of the IDF’s ban on the transfer of humanitarian aid to the Strip, the activists, all members of the Coalition of Women for Peace and the American group Code Pink, erected a playground on the Israeli side of the crossing.

“We came here despite knowing that the chances of transferring these ‘goods that threaten Israel’s security’ were slim. We want to send a message that Gaza is the biggest prison in the world,” activist Lena Haskiya (24) told Ynet.

“The Israeli army won’t allow children to play on a swing set because it’s a security risk? It’s just a playground,” she said. “We want the entire world to see what the IDF is preventing us from transferring to Gaza.”

Code Pink cofounder Medea Benjamin said, “The US allots $3 billion worth of the taxpayers’ money to the Israeli army each year, and as citizens it is our responsibility to see what is being done with this money and document it.

“Those of us who have already been to Gaza were left heartbroken by what they saw,” she added.

“We have no doubt that war crimes had been committed. The use of the American taxpayers’ money for these purposes is against the law.”