Hello, friends —
I’m writing you on behalf of Felice Gelman, who is now in Cairo. She is leading a group of 14 people who will try to get into Gaza. The group will arrive in Cairo on Sunday and then, hopefully, will get to the border of Egypt and Gaza at Al Arish on Monday. CodePink, as you may have heard, is also organizing delegations, and there is one also from Canada. This is part of a large organizing drive to break the siege on Gaza.
All told, there are about 160 people, most of them U.S. citizens, who will try to get through to Gaza in the next few days. They have received an umbrella invitation from UNRWA, the UN agency that provides assistance to Gazans, and will be bringing humanitarian aid, particularly items needed for the children of Gaza.
Independent of these is a group of medical doctors who are stuck at the Rafah entrance after being refused admittance into Gaza; these doctors already treated people in Gaza and were going back to do follow-up visits with patients. Amazingly enough, they are staging a HUNGER STRIKE at the border.
Felice reports that the Egyptians seem quite nervous about this venture and apparently have informed bus companies not to take people to Al Arish. Felice and other leaders of the delegations are working to get alternative transportation, but they feel that the most important thing that can be done today is to call elected representatives and Senator Gillibrand to request assistance for constituents and urge the Egyptians to let them through. (Cindy Albert is Sen. Gillibrand’s assistant but if she is not available, leave a message with anyone.)
I hope you can send this out widely ASAP to catch people before they leave for the holiday weekend. All calls will be helpful and may make the difference between sitting in Cairo or delivering desperately needed humanitarian goods to the Gazans.
This note was circulated by the New Profile mailing list (on 23 May 2009).