A year since the deadly Israeli attacks on Gaza in which 1,415 Palestinians were killed (including 318 children) and over 5,000 injured, no homes or schools have been rebuilt; most children have no textbooks or school supplies; the water and sewage systems have not been repaired; people are still dying for lack of medical care. How long must 1.5 million people wait before they can begin to reconstruct their lives? The siege must end. The borders must be opened. Governments have failed to act. We must act instead.
On 31 December, 2009, Irish civilians will be amongst the 1,000 international men and women who will end the year by marching alongside the Palestinian people of Gaza in a non-violent demonstration to demand that Israel end the illegal siege of Gaza.
Please endorse the Gaza Freedom March – sign the pledge:
Amnesty International has called the Gaza blockade a "form of collective punishment of the entire population of Gaza , a flagrant violation of Israel's obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention."
According to Former President of Ireland and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, “Their (Gaza’s) whole civilization has been destroyed…It’s almost unbelievable that the world doesn’t care while this is happening.”
Micheal Martin, TD and Minister for Foreign Affairs describes the “completely unacceptable nature of the blockade now being imposed on the people of Gaza”, and has demanded that “all border crossings into Gaza should be opened immediately to humanitarian and normal commercial traffic so that the dire humanitarian situation can be adequately addressed and the reconstruction of Gaza begins.”
Despite these calls for justice, in spite of the flagrant violations of international law by Israel, the siege continues.
The Gaza Freedom March is an historic initiative to break the illegal siege that has imprisoned the 1.5 million people who live in Gaza .
The Gaza Freedom March is inspired by decades of nonviolent Palestinian resistance - from the mass popular uprising of the first Intifada, to the West Bank villagers currently resisting the land grab of Israel's illegal apartheid Wall. It draws inspiration from the Gazans themselves, who formed a human chain from Rafah to Erez, tore down the border barrier separating Gaza from Egypt, and marched to the six checkpoints separating the occupied Gaza Strip from Israel.
The Freedom March also draws inspiration from the international volunteers who have stood by Palestinian farmers harvesting their crops, from the crews on the vessels who have challenged the Gaza blockade by sea, and from the drivers of the convoys who have delivered humanitarian aid to Gaza.
And it is inspired by Nelson Mandela who said: “I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. ... I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”
The demand is simple: that the Government of Israel opens the borders and ends the illegal collective punishment of the 1.5 million civilians of Gaza . The Gaza Freedom March is a grassroots global response to the inaction on the part of world leaders and institutions.
The Irish group will join 1,000 international delegates from 40 countries and march alongside distinguished participants such as Pulitzer Prize winning author Alice Walker, leading Syrian comedian Duraid Lahham, French Senator Alima Boumediene–Thiery, author and Filipino Parliament member Walden Bello, former European Parliamentarians Luisa Morgantini from Italy and Eva Quistorp from Germany, President of the U.S. Center for Constitutional Rights Attorney Michael Ratner, Japanese former Ambassador to Lebanon Naoto Amaki, French hip-hop artists Ministere des Affaires Populaires, and 85-year-old Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein.
The international delegates will enter Gaza via Egypt during the last week of December. In the morning December 31, they will join an estimated 50,000 Palestinians in a non-violent march from Northern Gaza to the Erez/Israeli border. On the Israeli side of the Erez border will be a gathering of Israeli citizens who are also calling on the Israeli government to open the border.
Please endorse the Gaza Freedom March – sign the petition today and pass on to your mailing lists! Thank you for your support.
“The Gaza Freedom March will go down in history as the day that people of conscience from around the world came together to demand that Israel stop the imprisonment of Gaza’s 1.5 million people,” said Medea Benjamin, one of the organizers of the march.
For more information on the Irish delegation contact: