WESPAC Member returns to Gaza next month

Dear friends,

Please help break the siege and open the borders. Join a trip to Gaza at the end of May.

More than 50 people (including one of us) recently traveled to Gaza on a trip led by Code Pink. Everyone on that trip was deeply moved by the scenes of destruction and the reports of suffering by the people of Gaza. The Gazans said, "We don’t need money, we need our freedom," and asked everyone to return with more people.

Gazans are locked into their tiny 140 sq. mile enclave by a blockade and siege which has lasted for two years. (Even before 2007 it was very difficult for people and goods to go in and out of Gaza.) Orchestrated by Israel, with material support from the U.S. and Egypt, the siege is an almost unprecedented act of war against a civilian population.

May 22nd to June 14th will mark a coordinated, international effort to open the borders and break the siege of Gaza. Multiple delegations from different countries are being organized to go to Gaza in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

This effort aims to open Gaza’s borders from all sides, from the Rafah border in Egypt, from the Erez crossing in Israel, and from the Mediterranean Sea (via www.freegaza.org) to lift the siege.

As an ad hoc group, with the assistance and support of Code Pink, we are organizing a delegation from the Northeast. (Details below.) We will go to Gaza at the invitation of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which has asked us to focus on the situation of the children in Gaza. Children in Gaza are more than half the population, and have been particularly affected by the privation of the siege and the terror and devastation of Israeli attacks.

Of course, it is possible that the Egyptian government will not permit us to cross the border. Some individuals and delegations have been denied entry. If we are denied entry, we will join up with some of the other delegations to protest at the border, to call attention to the need to open the borders and end the siege.

If you have an interest in going, or have questions that you need answered, please email us at [email protected], with your contact information, and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

We hope you will be able to join us. If you can’t come, be sure to pass this on to your friends. You can also help us fundraise. We plan to bring contributions and materials requested by children’s centers. Let us know if you think you can help in that effort.

Felice Gelman and Dorothy Zellner

 

Time of delegation: May 23 (travel day to CAIRO) to June 1

Itinerary:

Meet in Cairo on May 24

Meetings in Cairo May 24

Travel to border May 25

Meetings and programs in Gaza May 26 – May 30

Return to Cairo May 31

TENTATIVE Cost: $600 from Cairo to Gaza ground expenses (transportation, lodging in Gaza and Cairo, and meals). Does not include roundtrip flight from home city to Cairo and back, visas, and border fees. We would expect the cost of the entire trip, from New York to Gaza, would not exceed $1,700 and we can refer you to a travel agent who was obtain better fares than advertised on line for the previous trip.

WE LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING FROM YOU AND TRAVELING WITH YOU!