Friday, January 25, 2008

Convoy to Gaza

Press release 25/1/2008

Army closes down hilltop site of planned Saturday rally at the conclusion of Gaza supply convoy; rally will take place instead outside Erez Checkpoint, after car convoy and protest march by foot
Parallel Palestinian demonstration due inside Strip

This morning police suddenly informed organizers of the countrywide Gaza Supply Convoy, due tomorrow (Saturday, Jan. 26) that the army has forbidden the holding of the concluding rally on a hilltop overlooking the Gaza Strip (to which no objection was made earlier). The army even intends to surround the site with barbed wire to prevent access. There is no time to lodge a Supreme Court appeal, and organizers decided to have the rally at Erez Checkpoint, use of which is denied to Gazans.

The authorities’ move makes it impossible to have direct eye contact between the simultaneous Israeli and Palestinian rallies tomorrow, but there will still be phone contact and exchange of a message of peace and solidarity across the sealed border.

As noted in earlier messages, the humanitarian supply convoy will set out tomorrow morning, Saturday, 26 January 2008, from Nazareth , Haifa , Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Beer Sheva and meet up at 12.00 noon at Yad Mordechai Junction. From Yad Mordechai the protest convoy will go southwards, a long line of trucks, buses and private cars all decked with “Lift the Blockade!”signs. About half a kilometre ahead of the checkpoint, participants will march on foot, carrying signs and personal packages of supplies prepared by Israeli families for the Gazans. At 13:00 the rally will take place outside the locked gates of Erez Checkpoint. Speakers will include Shulamit Aloni, Uri Avnery, Nurit Peled-Elhanan, Issam Makhoul, Fatmeh el-Ajou, Rana Nashashibi, Suliman Al-Hatib and Jeff Halper. The convoy and rally will take place under all weather conditions.

As noted, there will be a phone link with the parallel demonstration due at the same hour in Gaza City at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where the keynote speaker will psychiatrist and human rights activist Dr. Eyad Sarraj. A parallel Palestinian demonstration is also expected in Ramallah. Simultaneous demonstrations will take place in Rome, Modena, Bologna, Grosseto, Naples, Milan, Paris, Poitiers, Toulouse, Strasbourg, Bordeaux, Nantes, Orleans, Cleveland, Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, London, Montreal, Los Angeles, Chicago, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Sydney, New York, Phoenix, Seattle, San Diego, Toronto, Cape Town and elsewhere across the globe – with a considerable participation of Jewish groups opposed to the policies of the Government of Israel.

You may go with us at 8.30 am from Reading Terminal in Tel Aviv, 8.45 a.m. from Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem , or go independently to be at 12 noon to Yad Mordechai Junction, where the convoy will set out.

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, Committee for Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue, “On the Left Side”, and Faculty for Palestinian-Israeli Peace (Israel).

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