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.
It is impossible to keep one and a half million people in a huge prison, and if you try an explosion is bound to happen, as happened today at the Gaza Strip’s border with Egypt. The residents of the Gaza Strip, like those of Israel and every other place in the world, have the fundamental right of free access to the outside word, for people and goods.
The Israeli Coalition Against the Siege continues preparations for the protest convoy to the Gaza border, on Saturday January 26, in coordination with the Palestinian Coalition which prepares parallel actions inside Gaza and in Ramallah, demanding a complete end to the blockade of Gaza. The policy of naked force, undertaken by Olmert and Barak, has utterly failed. It is neither desirable nor possible to renew the blockade. Nor will the continuing military offensive on Gaza end the shooting of missiles at Israeli territory. 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 ceasefire, peace and quiet, and the flourishing of Sderot and Gaza alike.
However bad the suffering is of the residents of Sderot, Ashkelon and the kibbutzim and moshavim in the area under the barrage of Qassam missiles, mortar shells and sniper bullets, it is in no way a justification for a cruel siege which severely harms a million and half civilians — men, women and children. The siege is an immoral act and a violation of International Law — and from a practical point of view, increasing the bitterness and suffering in Gaza leads to an intensification of attacks on the Israeli side, not to their end. Unlike what we have been made to believe, residents of Sderot and residents of Gaza are not to be seen as opponents: both are victims of a stupid and vicious policy of the Government of Israel.
In the convoy, departing from all over Israel on Saturday January 26, 2008, we will take with us a large quantity of water filters and firmly demand of the military authorities that they be allowed into the Strip where they are urgently needed, together with basic foodstuffs — flour, rice, oil, salt, lentils, beans — for distribution to residents driven to extreme poverty and despair by the siege.
On the border of the Strip we will conduct a protest rally, simultaneously with a rally held by our Palestinian friends on the other side. Together, we will demand of the Government of Israel to remove the siege of Gaza forthwith! We intend to hold the rally where we can have eye contact with the Palestinians, at a distance of no more than one kilometer.
Our friends on the Palestinian side, peace and human rights activists of the Palestinian International Campaign To End The Siege such as the well-known psychiatrist Dr. Eyad Sarraj, will demonstrate simultaneously with us in Gaza. In a coordinated Israeli-Palestinian action on both sides of the border we will present a true alternative to the continuing escalation, to the shooting and killing, destruction and suffering, missiles and tanks. An alternative of ceasefire, of a true end to direct and indirect occupation, an alternative of peace and prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians, for Sderot and for Gaza.
The convoy will include both buses and private cars. It is very important to arrive with a car, if you have one, in order to create a long and highly visible convoy. If at all possible, let us know in advance, even before Monday Jan. 21, to Ya’akov 050-5733276 or Teddy 052-5017141. It is especially important to let us know as soon as possible if you can come with a car — so that we can make better preparations.
Donations to help buy products for the convoy, and defray other expenses, can be transferred via POB 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033, Israel, or handed to our activists during the convoy itself (checks should be made out to Gush Shalom, and prominently marked ‘For Gaza Convoy’).
We have made considerable and lengthy efforts to coordinate this activity. The convoy will depart from organized rendezvous points at predetermined hours, in order to arrive together and create a long convoy. The rendezvous points are as follows:
7:00 Mary’s Spring
7:45 Solel Boneh Square (buses & private cars)
8:15 Arlozorov Railway Station (buses)
8:30 Reading Parking Lot (private cars, joined by the buses from Arlozorov )
8:30 Liberty Bell Park (buses)
8:45 Teddy Parking Lot (private cars, joined by the buses from Liberty Bell
10:15 University Gate (buses & private cars)
Signs, posters and cloth banners for the buses will be available at the rendezvous points. Please arrive in time to ‘decorate’ the cars. Everybody is asked to bring from home commodities needed in Gaza (milk powder, mineral water [not of Eden Springs], oil, flour, school supplies [satchels, pens and pencils etc.] and cigarettes) as a family package for a Gazan family. If you want you can add a personal letter in Arabic or English to the recipients.
The convoy will set out in all weather conditions, please come ready for rain and/or muddy ground. (Rain does not stop the siege, nor will it stop the protest against the siege!)
By unanimous decision of the organizing committee, participants are asked not to fly flags of any kind, whether representing nationality, party, ideology or anything else. Please respect this decision, to avoid unpleasantness which may distract us from the main purpose. Thank you!
Those who arrive in their cars are asked to tie a symbolic aid package to the roof of the car (if you were not able to do it before arriving, please bring the products and a rope with you, and we will help you tie them at the rendezvous).
We also ask all of you to bring drums, whistles, and those who have them — a shofar, in order to make a huge outcry of breaking down the wall of the siege. Please bring food and drink for a whole day.
Registration for Tel-Aviv and Haifa:
Talia Shiff, firstname.lastname@example.org, 052-3738832
Registration for Jerusalem and Be’er Sheba:
Moshe Pesach, email@example.com, 050-9702338
Gush Shalom, Combatants for Peace, Coalition of Women for Peace, ICAHD – The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, Bat Shalom, Bat Tzafon for Peace & Equality, Balad, Hadash, Adalah, Tarabut-Hithabrut, Physicians for Human Rights, Alternative Information Center, Psychoactive – Mental Health Professionals for Human Rights, ActiveStills, Student Coalition Tel-Aviv University, New Profile, Machsom Watch, PCATI – Public Committee Against Torture, Yesh Gvul, Gisha, Social TV on the internet, Faculty for Israel-Palestine Peace.
Details on the Palestinian International Campaign to End the Siege to which we are allied: <www.end-gaza-siege.ps/IndexEn.htm>.
This call to action was posted to the Web site of Gush Shalom.