Gaza Freedom March

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Gaza Freedom March was a non-violent political march to end the blockade of the Gaza Strip.,[1] planned to depart on 31 December from Izbet Abed Rabbo, an area devastated during Operation Cast Lead, and head towards Erez, the crossing point to Israel at the northern end of the Gaza Strip.[2]

More than 1350 people from 42 countries around the world were planning to join Palestinians in the march, among them Medea Benjamin, Alice Walker, Ronnie Kasrils, Alima Boumediene-Thiery, Hedy Epstein, Yusif Barakat, Roger Waters, Starhawk, Louie Vitale, and Ann Wright.[3][4][5] However, the Egyptian authorities disallowed the protest, and the march could not take place as planned. The march drew inspiration from various other campaigns such as Free Gaza Movement and Viva Palestina.

Endorsers and participants[edit]

Endorsers of the march included Howard Zinn, Gore Vidal, Arun Gandhi, Naomi Klein and Noam Chomsky.[6] Norman Finkelstein was an initial supporter, but later withdrew his endorsement saying that the new statement of context for the march brought in too many contentious issues.[7] Berkeley student organizer Ali Glenesk coordinated student outreach for the march, and over 100 students planned to participate. [8]

Hedy Epstein, Alice Walker, Luisa Morgantini, Alima Boumediene-Thiery, Duraid Lahham and Walden Bello are also planning to participate in the Gaza Freedom March.[9]

Entry to Gaza denied by Egyptian authorities[edit]

On December 20, 2009 the Egyptian government announced that it will not allow anyone to cross into Gaza from Egypt, effectively banning the march. The government issued a warning that anyone attempting to cross at Rafah will be, "dealt with by the law."[10]

The more than 1,300 internationals in the delegation intending to go to Gaza had asked that Egypt reconsider its ban, which included disallowing the Gaza Freedom March from delivering hundreds of tonnes of aid. The aid, which included specialised medical equipment and powdered milk for babies, sat in Aqaba, a Jordanian port town, awaiting Egyptian permission to enter Egypt.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Siege on Gaza Continues, 19-10-2009, Nadia Hijab, Institute for Palestine Studies.
  2. ^ Palestinians organize for the Gaza Freedom March, 30-11-2009, Rami Almaghari, The Electronic Intifada.
  3. ^ Gaza protest planned on Cast Lead anniversary, 05-12-2009, Andrew Bossone, Al-Masry Al-Youm.
  4. ^ Look Who's Going
  5. ^ Elderly Refugee to Join Gaza March, 14-12-2009, Maan News]
  6. ^ "ENDORSERS". 
  7. ^ Why I resigned from the Gaza Freedom March coalition, Norman Finkelstein.
  8. ^ "gazafreedommarch.org". 
  9. ^ PRESS CONFERENCE ON HUMANITARIAN MATTERS IN GAZA STRIP December 17th 2009, Department of Public Information of UN • News and Media Division • New York
  10. ^ "Egypt bans a protest march into Gaza". BBC. December 21, 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-21. 
  11. ^ Layelle Saad (December 26, 2009). "Pressure grows to end Gaza siege". Gulf News. Retrieved 2009-12-26. 

External links[edit]