Let the Gaza Freedom March go to Gaza
I had thought to write something inspiring about my upcoming voyage to Cairo and Gaza. I still will. But first, more important matters. The Egyptian government, citing security concerns, has semi-officially decided not to let the Gaza Freedom March cross into Gaza. This is unacceptable, but beyond that, we’ll skip the moral exhortations and ask for action. First, the press release, roughly, then, a few concrete steps you can take to bring polite, targeted, and heavy pressure on the government of Egypt:
Gaza Freedom March
UPDATEDecember 21, 2009
We are determined to break the siegeWe all will continue to do whatever we can to make it happen
Using the pretext of escalating tensions on the Gaza-Egypt border, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry informed us yesterday that the Rafah border will be closed over the coming weeks, into January. We responded that there is always tension at the border because of the siege, that we do not feel threatened, and that if there are any risks, they are risks we are willing to take. We also said that it was too late for over 1,300 delegates coming from over 42 countries to change their plans now. We both agreed to continue our exchanges.
Although we consider this as a setback, it is something we’ve encountered-and overcome–before. No delegation, large or small, that entered Gaza over the past 12 months has ever received a final OK before arriving at the Rafah border. Most delegations were discouraged from even heading out of Cairo to Rafah. Some had their buses stopped on the way. Some have been told outright that they could not go into Gaza. But after public and political pressure, the Egyptian government changed its position and let them pass.
Our efforts and plans will not be altered at this point. We have set out to break the siege of Gaza and march on December 31 against the Israeli blockade. We are continuing in the same direction.
Contact the Palestine Division in Ministry of Foreign Affairs, CairoAhmed Azzam, tel +202-25749682 Email: email@example.com
In the U.S., contact the Egyptian Embassy, 202-895-5400 and ask for Omar Youssef or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You signed on to join the the Gaza Freedom March, that was the first step. Now call the Egyptian embassy and ask your elected official to call on your behalf. Contact your local media/press to tell them you are going to Gaza. Then pack your bags and come to Cairo ready to march with our brothers and sisters in Gaza.
We look forward to seeing you all in the coming week.
The GFM Steering Committee
* * Sample text
I am writing/calling to express my full support for the December 31, 2009 Gaza Freedom March. I urge the Egyptian government to allow the 1,300 international delegates to enter the Gaza Strip through Egypt.
The aim of the march is to call on Israel to lift the siege. The delegates will also take in badly needed medical aid, as well as school supplies and winter jackets for the children of Gaza.
Please, let this historic March proceed.
Egyptian embassies and missions all over the world must hear from us and our supporters (by phone, fax and email)** over the coming crucial days, with a clear message: Let the international delegation enter Gaza and let the Gaza Freedom March proceed.