Tag Archives: Gaza Freedom March

Tens of thousands march in New York City on Fathers Day protest against ‘Stop and Frisk’ racial profiling by cops

Under reported by the US press is this protest against the growing National Security State laws and law enforcement of US military and policing agencies. Huge Multiracial Father's Day March Tells Bloomberg and NYPD, 'No More Stop-and-Frisk!' ___Why don’t they ‘stop and frisk’ the superrich financial con artists and super rotten corporate politicians in New York City instead of ‘stopping and frisking’ ordinary people going about their daily business of living? What next with our gigantesque Police and Military State? A ‘Search and Enter’? See al jazeera Live Report on youtube about this march

PPJPC pair returns from GFM. NBD?

GFM
The Colorado Springs peace envoys to the 2009 Gaza Freedom March in Palestine flew back to town last week with absolutely no fanfare, no media reception, no press releases, no coordination by organizers to make an event of their attempted peace mission. They will report on their adventure to the PPJPC at the end of January, but that’s the extent of what those who contributed funds to the project will get for their money.

It’s a furious criticism I maintain against the local Justice and Peace group. They have a paid staff, yet that staff won’t handle press releases nor promote actions. The best they can do is answer when the TV reporters call, to explain the little they know, and throw confusion into the actions of others. It’s despicable, and the sooner the donors and members figure out their best efforts are being sabotaged from within, the sooner that organization can get back on the ball.

Here they had a delegation to Egypt, part of a well planned action to bring attention to Gaza, and the staff can’t even promote it here. Elsewhere travelers coming and going gave interviews as part of events. When they raised funds to do it, I’m sure the benefactors had in mind that the money would go to more than providing a vacation, or pilgrimage, for two to the holy land.

Of course, the Gaza march didn’t build to critical mass, despite the convergence of 1,400 activists on Cairo. The anticipated climactic march through Gaza didn’t gel and thus the media spotlight couldn’t be drawn the way organizers had hoped, irresistible in spite of the blackout imposed by Israeli interests. Even the Viva Palestina aid convoy didn’t get media attention, even with the riveting confrontations and ultimate riot. That procession of predominantly European activists did ultimately reach the Gazans, but still the coverage was throttled.

Who knows what success the march might have found, if it had been permitted to leave Cairo. But the action’s only hope was to pressure the Egyptian government with the strength of all the internationals demonstrating in the streets. The many activists who struck out on their own didn’t help that effort a lick. They justified their decisions based on seeking out compromises to accomplish good, to pursue their own individual aid projects, instead of sticking to the GFM and no guarantee of success. The the goal of bringing public pressure was not helped by the PPJPC ambassadors who opted against team-playing.

Who am I to judge? It’s easy to see where the do-good in small steps can lead. For example, I’m certain that the same ethos would justify rescuing an inmate from Gaza, one by one, if circumstances permitted. No doubt it would be counted a miracle of one by one, all the Gazans were granted asylum somewhere far from the reaches of the IDF guns. In total, however, that would accomplish Israel’s goal, wouldn’t it? Pacifism goes hand in iron glove with tyranny. The Gazans needed unity from the freedom marchers, not peace tourists sneaking around doing quiet good deeds like sponging Christ’s wounds.

It’s a picture worth a thousand ships

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minster Ayalon and Turkish ambassadorAt first the story read like diplomatic sensitivities ruffled by no more than your typical office power feng shui: the Turkish ambassador to Israel was not seated at a height commensurate with his host, the flag of his nation was not displayed, the Israeli deputy minister would not shake his hand. Rather it was Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon himself who called the reporters’ attentions to the intentional affronts, lest it was not obvious enough from the photograph. To what do the Turks owe Israel’s displeasure? Turkey’s PM has been criticizing Israel’s crimes in Gaza, to no greater degree than has been confirmed by the UN Goldstone Report. Here’s to hoping that Turkish pride will answer appropriately.

It’s been a traditional role of ambassadors to suffer their host’s anger at a perceived provocation. Didn’t Ivan the Terrible once send emissaries packing after he’d nailed their hats to their heads? Often in less diplomatic times, envoys were beheaded, to usually ruinous result. In modern times, suffering indignity to foreign dignitaries is enough to send your message. But today too, media images have come to have a greater reach across the world. I’m thinking in particular the Muslim populaces. Let’s see what kind of posture of subservience Israel can expect of Turkey.

Said one Turkish parliamentarian: “The word scandal is not enough to describe this move.” And it seems unlikely that Israel will apologize, Ayalon already responding: “In terms of the diplomatic tactics available, this was the minimum that was warranted given the repeated provocations by political and other players in Turkey.”

Perhaps Israel was emboldened by Egypt’s recent display of obedience to the mission of starving Gaza. Israel’s violent repression of the people of Gaza is meeting with growing criticism, and perhaps they expect Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to heel dutifully.

What might the minimum of responses be from Turkey, given the sway the US holds over its actions, in light too of its aspiration to rise through the EU?

With Egypt’s intention to fortify its Gaza border to curtail tunneling, and its announcement to permit no further aid from reaching the besieged Palestinians, the path remains only for someone to reach Gaza by sea. I’m hoping it will be the Turks.

Why couldn’t a Sea Shepherd Conservation Society type flotilla mount a seaborne rescue of Gaza? I’d bet televising such an adventure would find a bigger audience than Whale Wars.

Aid groups have been trying, with sporadic success, to breach Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza coast. Perhaps it’s time for a nation to lend some military vessels to the task. Why not? The United Nations considers Israel’s embargo of Gaza to be illegal. Why shouldn’t a local power sail right before the Israeli warships to escort relief supplies to the Gazans? Let’s see whose ships will look down on whose.

israel-humiliates-turkey-ambassador

UPDATE: Here it is, the Free Gaza Movement is putting together a flotilla!

Where is humanitarian airlift for Gaza?

 
 
The Berlin airlift siege C-47
When the Soviet Union laid siege to West Berlin in 1947, the Western powers mounted a famous airlift to supply the city’s inhabitants for ten months until the siege was broken. At its height, the Berlin Airlift hauled almost 9,000 tons per day. By contrast, the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip remain besieged for two and a half years now, where is the humanitarian effort to save them?

The West’s official abandonment of the Gazans is shameful.

Gaza today has a similar population in number and density, also living in post-war squalor. A chief difference is that instead of a conqueror trying to impose a common currency to force assimilation, Palestine’s occupier wants to purge the people of the lands it want to absorb. The siege of Gaza represents living conditions made so dire that its victims want only to leave.

The recent Viva Palestina aid convoy to Gaza was the third successful effort to supply the people of Gaza. Counting also the attempts to bring supplies by boat, how do these methods compare to the help mobilized for Berlin?

At the close of the latest effort, leader George Galloway was ceremoniously banned from returning to Egypt. Some of the convoy’s participants still await flights out of Cairo, all of them declared persona non grata. Although Venezuelan upstart Hugo Chavez will reportedly be supporting the next Viva Palestina convoy this summer, Egypt has now declared that no aid effort will be allowed through its border crossing to Gaza.

Why will no foreign government support an airlift to Gaza –even if it means parachuting supplies? Or why not a naval convoy to breach the barricade? Israel repeats that Gaza is not occupied. A challenge to Gaza’s maritime sovereignty could settle that matter.

Upon arrival in Gaza, a participant in the aid convoy summarized his motivation to bring relief supplies to the people of Gaza: “because they deserve it.”

Viva Palestina shows Code Pink how solidarity works

Gaza Freedom March breakers
Egyptian authorities in El-Arish tried this evening to decapitate the Viva Palestina aid convoy on its final leg toward the Gaza border. This was the successful strategy Egypt used to divide the Gaza Freedom March a week before, but the activists held strong, and it didn’t take a referendum for the isolated group of 157 to stick up for the 400 others waylaid in Syria. ReadingPSC tells the story from El-Arish.

When the convoy was forced to leave Egypt’s Red Sea port to reenter Syria and travel by ferry from Lattakia to Egypt’s port at El-Arish, only a minimum number of convoy participants were permitted to stay with the vehicles. The rest learned they could only rejoin the convoy by air. The same plane was to fly repeated trips, carrying one fourth of the number each time. But that’s not how it worked out.

On the second flight, the plane was forced back to Syria due to engine problems, and now remains grounded. As it stands tonight, 3/4 of Viva Palestina remains in Syria. Meanwhile, the Egyptians tried to compel the first group to depart for Rafah and man the convoy without their comrades, telling them the extra 400 would be denied permission to follow.

Of the convoy participants issuing updates, Readings PCS and Derry to Gaza are safely in El-Arish, while York to Gaza et al will fly from Damascus in the morning.

If there remain further obstacles for the convoy, Viva Palestina is recommending you contact the Egyptian embassy/consulate available to you, to press Egypt to honor its commitment to let the aid convoy through and help break the siege of Gaza!

Reading PSC printed this encouragement from Noam Chomsky:

Dear Convoy: a message from Noam Chomsky!…

Despite the media blackout, which is a disgrace, this is turning out to be a really spectacular triumph, I think, and it’s hard to express properly my admiration and respect for those who are directly engaged.

It has to be a shot in the arm for the people in Gaza, and might stir up some opposition to the dictatorship in Egypt, which is exposing its brutality daily — to everyone except the US media (hope it’s better elsewhere). And I think a lot of people are going to come back home really invigorated.

Good luck in what lies ahead.

Viva Palestina convoy to arrive in Rafah NPR fails to name it, or mention the Gaza Freedom March

viva palestina route el arishAfter endless impediment, not the least of which was a sudden Israeli naval exercise to block its path, the Viva Palestina aid convoy appears finally about to reach Gaza. Permission to enter has been granted, although last week Egypt reneged on the okay it had given to the 1,400 strong Gaza Freedom March. NPR had a reporter at the Rafah border crossing, but didn’t mention the aid convoy until 1/3 into the report, and then not by name, and never mentioned the New Year’s Eve march at all. As well, NPR referred to the besieged prison state as an “enclave” whose borders were forcibly closed, “understandably,” when Hamas “took over.”

Here’s the opening of this morning’s report. My favorite part? Two. First the interminable sportscast-lke intro, a beautiful day in Fenway Park, etc. Then, hesitation as the reporter explains that the border is opened to let Palestinians out, and um, sometimes back in.

Steve Inskeep: “This is a rare day in a Palestinian enclave known as the Gaza Strip. A border crossing opened today, which is rare because Gaza is surrounded by Israel and Egypt and both have kept the crossings closed for weeks at a time over the last couple years. Today people and supplies have been allowed to move and NPR’s Peter Kenyon is at the border crossing of Rafah on the Egyptian side, Hi Peter.”

Peter Kenyon: “Hi Steve, how are you?”

SI: “Okay thanks. What have you seen?”

PK: “Well it’s a beautiful sunny day here, a little bit windy but a bright blue sky, and I’m at the actual crossing point. The black iron gates are slowly swinging open and closed from time to time, letting Palestinians out into Egypt or uh, sometimes back in, people who need to get home. Now this is a very limited opening, not any kind of a max exodus.”

SI: “Is this an opportunity to move supplies in addition to people?”

PK: “It is. In fact there is an aid convoy that has endured quite a few setbacks that has now finally arrived in the port of El-Arish. That’s about twenty-five miles away and that is expected to come as early as today, possibly tonight, there’s some last minute logistical difficulties. It’s a British convoy led by the outspoken member of parliament George Galloway. And they have finally arrived and they do hope to get in.”

And that’s the extent of the coverage of the aid convoy that has been winding its way toward Gaza for the last month. No mention of “Viva Palestina” or organizations behind the effort, or even what their difficulties have been. The final “logistical difficulties” to which the reporter alludes concern Egypt’s sudden stipulation that aid consist only of medical supplies. Check with York to Gaza, the Reading Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, the Sitch, among others, for the final updates.

Meanwhile the BBC has pictures of conditions in Gaza.

While the Gaza Freedom March was kept contained in Cairo, Egypt was simultaneously stopping the Viva Palestina aid convoy from entering through Aqaba. Ultimately the convoy was forced to circle Israel and return to Syria, where it had to ferry its vehicles on the Ulusoy-6 from Lattakia to the Egyptian Port of El-Arish to reach the Rafah border crossing into Gaza.

The Cairo Declaration

gaza-freedom-march-cairo-egypt
Ambitions for a greater Gaza Freedom March have been set aside for another decade, but the hopeful delegates thwarted in Cairo issued the following declaration:

End Israeli Apartheid?
Cairo Declaration
?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.

Mindful of the many strong similarities between apartheid Israel and the former apartheid regime in South Africa, we propose:

1) An international speaking tour in the first 6 months of 2010 by Palestinian and South African trade unionists and civil society activists, to be joined by trade unionists and activists committed to this programme within the countries toured, to take mass education on BDS directly to the trade union membership and wider public internationally;

2) Participation in the Israeli Apartheid Week in March 2010;

3) A systematic unified approach to the boycott of Israeli products, involving consumers, workers and their unions in the retail, warehousing, and transportation sectors;

4) Developing the Academic, Cultural and Sports boycott;

5) Campaigns to encourage divestment of trade union and other pension funds from companies directly implicated in the Occupation and/or the Israeli military industries;

6) Legal actions targeting the external recruitment of soldiers to serve in the Israeli military, and the prosecution of Israeli government war criminals; coordination of Citizen’s Arrest Bureaux to identify, campaign and seek to prosecute Israeli war criminals; support for the Goldstone Report and the implementation of its recommendations;

7) Campaigns against charitable status of the Jewish National Fund (JNF).

We appeal to organisations and individuals committed to this declaration to sign it and work with us to make it a reality.

Signed by:

(* Affiliation for identification purposes only.)

1. Hedy Epstein, Holocaust Survivor/ Women in Black*, USA?
2. Nomthandazo Sikiti, Nehawu, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), Affiliate International Officer*, South Africa?
3. Zico Tamela, Satawu, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) Affiliate International Officer*, South Africa?
4. Hlokoza Motau, Numsa, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) Affiliate International Officer*, South Africa?
5. George Mahlangu, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) Campaigns Coordinator*, South Africa?
6. Crystal Dicks, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) Education Secretary*, South Africa?
7. Savera Kalideen, SA Palestinian Solidarity Committee*, South Africa?
8. Suzanne Hotz, SA Palestinian Solidarity Group*, South Africa?
9. Shehnaaz Wadee, SA Palestinian Solidarity Alliance*, South Africa?
10. Haroon Wadee, SA Palestinian Solidarity Alliance*, South Africa?
11. Sayeed Dhansey, South Africa?
12. Faiza Desai, SA Palestinian Solidarity Alliance*, South Africa?
13. Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada*, USA?
14. Hilary Minch, Ireland Palestine Solidarity Committee*, Ireland?
15. Anthony Loewenstein, Australia?
16. Sam Perlo-Freeman, United Kingdom?
17. Julie Moentk, Pax Christi*, USA?
18. Ulf Fogelström, Sweden?
19. Ann Polivka, Chico Peace and Justice Center*, USA?
20. Mark Johnson, Fellowship of Reconciliation*, USA?
21. Elfi Padovan, Munich Peace Committee*/Die Linke*, Germany?
22. Elizabeth Barger, Peace Roots Alliance*/Plenty I*, USA?
23. Sarah Roche-Mahdi, CodePink*, USA?
24. Svetlana Gesheva-Anar, Bulgaria?
25. Cristina Ruiz Cortina, Al Quds-Malaga*, Spain?
26. Rachel Wyon, Boston Gaza Freedom March*, USA?
27. Mary Hughes-Thompson, Women in Black*, USA?
28. David Letwin, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN)*, USA?
29. Jean Athey, Peace Action Montgomery*, USA?
30. Gael Murphy, Gaza Freedom March*/CodePink*, USA?
31. Thomas McAfee, Journalist/PC*, USA?
32. Jean Louis Faure, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN)*, France?
33. Timothy A King, Christians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East*, USA?
34. Gail Chalbi, Palestine/Israel Justice Project of the Minnesota United Methodist Church*, USA?
35. Ouahib Chalbi, Palestine/Israel Justice Project of the Minnesota United Methodist Church*, USA?
36. Greg Dropkin, Liverpool Friends of Palestine*, England?
37. Felice Gelman, Wespac Peace and Justice New York*/Gaza Freedom March*, USA?
38. Ron Witton, Australian Academic Union*, Australia?
39. Hayley Wallace, Palestine Solidarity Committee*, USA?
40. Norma Turner, Manchester Palestine Solidarity Campaign*, England?
41. Paula Abrams-Hourani, Women in Black (Vienna)*/ Jewish Voice for Just Peace in the Middle East*, Austria?
42. Mateo Bernal, Industrial Workers of the World*, USA?
43. Mary Mattieu, Collectif Urgence Palestine*, Switzerland?
44. Agneta Zuppinger, Collectif Urgence Palestine*, Switzerland?
45. Ashley Annis, People for Peace*, Canada?
46. Peige Desgarlois, People for Peace*, Canada?
47. Hannah Carter, Canadian Friends of Sabeel*, Canada?
48. Laura Ashfield, Canadian Friends of Sabeel*, Canada?
49. Iman Ghazal, People for Peace*, Canada?
50. Filsam Farah, People for Peace*, Canada?
51. Awa Allin, People for Peace*, Canada?
52. Cleopatra McGovern, USA?
53. Miranda Collet, Spain?
54. Alison Phillips, Scotland?
55. Nicholas Abramson, Middle East Crisis Response Network*/Jews Say No*, USA?
56. Tarak Kauff, Middle East Crisis Response Network*/Veterans for Peace*, USA?
57. Jesse Meisler-Abramson, USA?
58. Hope Mariposa, USA?
59. Ivesa Lübben. Bremer Netzwerk fur Gerechten Frieden in Nahost*, Germany?
60. Sheila Finan, Mid-Hudson Council MERC*, USA?
61. Joanne Lingle, Christians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East (CPJME)*, USA?
62. Barbara Lubin, Middle East Children’s Alliance*, USA?
63. Josie Shields-Stromsness, Middle East Children’s Alliance*, USA?
64. Anna Keuchen, Germany?
65. Judith Mahoney Pasternak, WRL* and Indypendent*, USA?
66. Ellen Davidson, New York City Indymedia*, WRL*, Indypendent*, USA?
67. Ina Kelleher, USA?
68. Lee Gargagliano, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (Chicago)*, USA?
69. Brad Taylor, OUT-FM*, USA?
70. Helga Mankovitz, SPHR (Queen’s University)*, Canada?
71. Mick Napier, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign*, Scotland?
72. Agnes Kueng, Paso Basel*, Switzerland?
73. Anne Paxton, Voices of Palestine*, USA?
74. Leila El Abtah, The Netherlands?
75. Richard, Van der Wouden, The Netherlands?
76. Rafiq A. Firis, P.K.R.*/Isra*, The Netherlands?
77. Sandra Tamari, USA?
78. Alice Azzouzi, Way to Jerusalem*, USA?
79. J’Ann Schoonmaker Allen, USA?
80. Ruth F. Hooke, Episcopalian Peace Fellowship*, USA?
81. Jean E. Lee, Holy Land Awareness Action Task Group of United Church of Canada*, Canada?
82. Delphine de Boutray, Association Thèâtre Cine*, France?
83. Sylvia Schwarz, USA?
84. Alexandra Safi, Germany?
85. Abdullah Anar, Green Party – Turkey*, Turkey?
86. Ted Auerbach, USA?
87. Martha Hennessy, Catholic Worker*, USA?
88. Father Louis Vitale, Interfaile Pace e Bene*, USA?
89. Leila Zand, Fellowship of Reconciliation*, USA?
90. Emma Grigore, CodePink*, USA?
91. Sammer Abdelela, New York Community of Muslim Progressives*, USA?
92. Sharat G. Lin, San Jose Peace and Justice Center*, USA?
93. Katherine E. Sheetz, Free Gaza*, USA?
94. Steve Greaves, Free Gaza*, USA?
95. Trevor Baumgartner, Free Gaza*, USA?
96. Hanan Tabbara, USA?
97. Marina Barakatt, CodePink*, USA?
98. Keren Bariyov, USA?
99. Ursula Sagmeister, Women in Black – Vienna*, Austria?
100. Ann Cunningham, Australia?
101. Bill Perry, Delaware Valley Veterans for Peace*, USA?
102. Terry Perry, Delaware Valley Veterans for Peace*, USA?
103. Athena Viscusi, USA?
104. Marco Viscusi, USA?
105. Paki Wieland, Northampton Committee*, USA?
106. Manijeh Saba, New York / New Jersey, USA?
107. Ellen Graves, USA?
108. Zoë Lawlor, Ireland – Palestine Solidarity Campaign*, Ireland?
109. Miguel García Grassot, Al Quds – Málaga*, Spain?
110. Ana Mamora Romero, ASPA-Asociacion Andaluza Solidaridad y Paz*, Spain?
111. Ehab Lotayef, CJPP Canada*, Canada?
112. David Heap, London Anti-War*, Canada?
113. Adie Mormech, Free Gaza* / Action Palestine*, England?
114. Aimee Shalan, UK?
115. Liliane Cordova, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN)*, Spain?
116. Priscilla Lynch, USA?
117. Jenna Bitar, USA?
118. Deborah Mardon, USA?
119. Becky Thompson, USA?
120. Diane Hereford, USA?
121. David Heap, People for Peace London*, Canada?
122. Donah Abdulla, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights*, Canada?
123. Wendy Goldsmith, People for Peace London*, Canada?
124. Abdu Mihirig, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights-UBC*, Canada?
125. Saldibastami, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights-UBC*, Canada?
126. Abdenahmane Bouaffad, CMF*, France?
127. Feroze Mithiborwala, Awami Bharat*, India?
128. John Dear, Pax Christi*, USA?
129. Ziyaad Lunat, Portugal?
130. Michael Letwin, New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW)?
131. Labor For Palestine

Code Pink and the Obama Left

GFM video update from Sam HusseiniAs Code Pink capitulates in Cairo, taking consolation for eking a 1/14 size march as a compromise with Egypt, where originally they promised to march regardless the permissions granted, I’m reminded of Code Pink’s role in 2008, protesting war while cheerleading for Obama. Code Pink was one of the strongest organizing forces at the Denver DNC demonstrations, but inside their clubhouse at the Mercury Cafe, decorations revealed their crush on the Man From Change. The antiwar movement needs players like Code Pink, and the indefatigable Medea Benjamin, but as the denouement of 2009 felled the last Obamapologists, I think they’ve lost dibs on decision making.

Groups like Code Pink can assist with action planning, but if they insist on a voice pretending to represent the goals of real activism, no. How can Code Pink et al be considered longer reliable partners at the grass roots? In Cairo yesterday, over a thousand activists wanted to hold strong, but 87 Judases had Code Pink’s approval, to board Egypt’s counter-activism ploy.

The predicament reminds be of the pharmaceutical commercials where a middle-aged man explains the grief to which he’s come, on account of neglecting his health. Now he’s found a pill to stay healthy and he wants to share his advice with others. What, pray tell, entitles him to give any health advice at all? He’s actually disqualified himself. Lipitor, I think is the latest pitch. Yes, he was an idiot, but he got a second chance with Lipitor, now he recommends it. We trust him — why?

Chapel Hills Mall boycott DAY 4 update

chapel hills mallCHAPEL HILLS MALL- Security visited the CFP picket on Wednesday. They’d observed us the past three days via video surveillance, but apparently their camera angles recorded only the backs of our signs, general slogans about Israel, Gaza, and the Gaza Freedom March, which did not adequately explain the inquiries they received about shoppers being asked to boycott VICTORIA’S SECRET and BATH & BODY WORKS. We were eager to explain. As usual, the critical question was how long we planned to be there.

Our answer was tentative: Until more than 87 delegates from the Gaza Freedom March to join Gaza demonstrators demanding an end to the Siege of Gaza. Solidarity protests and pickets are being staged worldwide. It’s up to the US and Israel, through their proxy in Egypt. Who knows if the Limited, parent company of the the aforementioned retail stores, can exert its influence? GFM would-be participant Sam Husseini reports international delegates left behind are being blocked from leaving their hotels. Mohammed Said el-Naidi reports and has picture.

A deal was brokered yesterday by which 100 peace delegates, one per nationality, could proceed by bus to Rafah. Many activists refused, choosing to demonstrate with the hundreds to be left behind. Organizers Code Pink had originally vowed to march on December 31st, regardless if permission is granted by Egyptian authorities, but now are declaring the brokered deal a victory… As a collective, the organizers forming the FGM rejected the offer, but a group left nonetheless.

The final 87 include many journalists who intended to cover the march and Palestinians hoping to be reunited with family members. No word yet whether Colorado Springs representatives are on the two buses headed to Gaza.

To support the GFM efforts, contact the Egyptian Embassy, 202-895-5400 and ask for Omar Youssef or email omaryoussef@hotmail.com with an email like the following:

I am writing/calling to express my full support for the December 31, 2009 Gaza Freedom March. I urge the Egyptian government to allow the 1,300 international delegates to enter the Gaza Strip through Egypt.
 
The aim of the march is to call on Israel to lift the siege. The delegates will also take in badly needed medical aid, as well as school supplies and winter jackets for the children of Gaza.
 
Please, let this historic March proceed.
 
Thank you.

Gaza Freedom March update

free PalestineGFM activists still prevented from leaving Cairo spoiling Rafah rendezvous with demonstrators in Gaza; American citizens undertaking hunger strike after being blocked from the US embassy; the siege of the UN offices has been called off; and the Viva Palestina convoy in Jordan has taken an alternative route. Follow Electronic Intifada’s Ali Abunimah and Institute for Public Accuracy’s Sam Husseini for minute by minute updates. Official reports from GFM. Photos by Antony Loewenstein. Solidarity actions continue worldwide, including Colorado Springs.

Abunimah reports after delegation of three activists were permitted to meet with US embassy staff:

USG supports the siege of Gaza, offers excuses & stonewalling. During meeting political officer Greg Logrefo confirmed that US Army Corps of Engineers is providing technical assistance to build underground wall.