Tuesday, February 19, 2008

finally the food arrived to Gaza

Coalition against the Gaza Siege

Press Release February 18, 2008

At noon today in the Sufa Border Crossing, donated foodstuffs and water filters at last reached their destination in Gaza

At Noon today, there at last arrived in their Gaza destination the goods carried in the supply convoy of the Israeli Peace and Human Rights organizations, two and a half weeks ago. After the authorization was given after long negotiations with the military authorities, some fifteen activists arrived this morning at the warehouses in Kibbutz Kerem Shalom and the Bedouin town of Rahat, where the goods had been stored, loaded them and decorated the cargo with enormous banners reading End the Blockade of Gaza!

The Israeli activists accompanied the cargo until the entrance of the Sufa Compound on the Gaza Strip border, where it was unloaded and transferred to Palestinian trucks and delivered to members of the Palestinian-International Campaign to End the Siege, based at Gaza City. The cargo consisted of five tons of basic foodstuffs purchased by the organizers from donations collected from Israel and all over the world, as well as water purification filters for the highly polluted water in the Strip. To these were added two tons of personal aid packages, prepared by many Israeli families as a a goodwill gesture to the Gaza inhabitants.

Members of the Palestinian Campaign intend to give the highest priority in distribution of the water filters received today to the Gaza Strip hospitals, where the need for clean water is particularly acute. The entry of water filters today follows many months when the Israeli siege caused a severe shortage of this item, indispensable for basic health, as of many other vital goods. The organizers hope that from now on, inhabitants of the Gaza Strip would be able to use the precedent created and import as many water filters as needed, without restrictions.

“Under conditions of the strangling siege of Gaza, the simple act of transporting a few tons of cargo some dozens of kilometres required two months of intensive effort by dozens of people in Israel and the Gaza Strip, with considerable help from peace seekers all over the world. This siege should be terminated forthwith. It is a manifestly immoral, gross violation of International Law which causes Israel nothing but damage. The suffering caused to the inhabitants of Gaza in no way benefits the inhabitants of Sderot. There is only one way to bring about the end of the shooting of Quassam Missiles at Israeli communities: a positive response to the many offers by Hamas leaders, to a complete and mutual ceasefire on both sides of the Gaza Strip border" said former Knesset Member Uri Avnery of Gush Shalom, who was among the activists accompanying the aid cargo to the Sufa Crossing. Dr. Eyad Sarraj of the Palestinian campaign spoke with the Israeli organizers on the phone and warmly thanked them. He told that the stores of goods brought into the Gaza Strip during the two weeks when the Egyptian border was open are in the process of running out, and that the feeling of siege and suffocation is reasserting itself. "We in Gaza greatly appreciate the manifestation of solidarity in the convoy of today. We hope that this is the start of a common struggle by the two peoples, to ensure peace and liberty to both."

Contact: Adam Keller 0506-709603, Ya’akov Manor 09-7670801 or
050-5733276, Dr. Eyad Sarraj 0599-408438, Marwan Diab 0599-462037
Stills of the action available from AP and Reuters. Video footage from AP as well as from Natalio Cohen 050-8102366 or Sergio Yahni 052-6375032.

Participating organizations: 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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