1. BRIDGE THE GAP – HUMAN CHAINS NATIONWIDE
Thursday, December 31st 2009 at 2.00pm followed by PROTEST AND LETTER HAND IN AT EGYPTIAN EMBASSY, 12 CLYDE ROAD AT 3.30PM
The IAWM is supporting this event on New Year’s Eve that has been organised by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity campaign (IPSC) and is calling all its members to attend if possible.
In an act of solidarity with the human rights activists taking part in the Gaza Freedom March on 31st December, the IPSC intends to form ‘human chains’ at various locations around the country – similar events will be occurring all around the world on this day and the images will be sent on to Gaza so people can see internationals standing in solidarity with them. We’re asking you to take one hour out of your New Year’s Eve to show your support for the people of Gaza and to remember the more than 1,400 Palestinians who were killed this time last year.
Dublin: In Dublin we are calling on people to gather at 2pm at the Ha’penny Bridge. Please bring Palestinian flags if you have them, and black balloons. We will provide a limited number of flags and balloons on the day. For more info contact Freda at email@example.com
Cork: Time & Venue, TBC - For more info contact Freda at firstname.lastname@example.org
Galway: 3pm, Venue TBC - For more info contact Niamh at email@example.com
Sligo: Time & Venue, TBC For more info contact John at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kilkenny: Time & Venue, TBC. For more info contact John at email@example.com
If you are interested in organising a similar event in your area, please contact Freda at firstname.lastname@example.org
2. LOBBY THE EGYPTIAN EMBASSY AND THE IRISH DEPT. OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Over 1300 Peace Activists from 42 countries, including at least eight people from Ireland, have collected vital supplies and have travelled to Egypt in order to cross the border and deliver the aid to the people of Gaza. These Peace Activists are now trapped in Egypt and are being prevented by the Egyptian Government from travelling into Gaza.
According to AFP News Agency, at least 38 people of various nationalities were picked up by Egyptian security services in El Arish and held in their hotel rooms. Two of the Irish contingent had their passports taken away and these were only returned to them after a sit down protest. Hundreds of the Peace Activists are camped outside the United Nations mission in Cairo and have gone on hunger strike and are asking the UN to help them. The hunger strikers include an 85-year-old lady called Hedy Epstein who is a Holocaust survivor. Hundreds of the French activists are camped outside the French Embassy in Cairo.
Meanwhile a convoy of vans carrying supplies which travelled all the way from London to Jordan has been told by Egyptian officials that it must go all the way back to Syria to get into Egypt and is not being allowed to take the shorter route from Aqaba to Nuweiba.
Please contact the Egyptian Embassy by email, fax or phone and request that the activists be allowed through to Gaza.
Contact details as follows:
Contacts for Irish Dept. of Foreign Affairs
01 4780822, 4082139 Ask for Helena Nolan.
You can submit a posting directly to the Minister on the DFA website www.dfa.ie
3. IAWM STATEMENT / LEAFLET ON GAZA
Attached is the IAWM Statement on the situation in Gaza one year on from the Israeli onslaught. Please print out and distribute to your friends and colleagues. The text is copied below.
Lift the horrific blockade of Gaza
End the occupation of Palestine
More than two years have passed since the land and sea blockade on Gaza’s 1.5 million inhabitants began, and one year since the deadly Israeli attacks in which 1,415 Palestinians were killed, over 5,000 were injured and 325,000 lost their homes. The military assault, which started just after Christmas 2008 showed up the brutal and militaristic nature of the Israeli state, as pictures of dead and wounded defenceless civilians, many of them children, were broadcast to the world.
One year on from this horrific bombardment, no homes or schools have been rebuilt, hospitals are still lacking medicine and equipment, the water and sewage systems have not been repaired and people, especially children and the elderly, are still dying as a direct result of the blockade. According to the UN, Public Health Services are dangerously lacking, children die of basic illnesses such as diarrhoea and the population as a whole suffers from malnutrition.
The siege of Gaza by Israel is designed to starve into submission or annihilate totally the 1.5 million Gazans, half of whom are under the age of 18 years. Meanwhile, in the West Bank the land grabbing by the Israelis continues, including house demolitions, expulsions of people from their homes and the building of the wall sealing off Palestinian areas from each other. Assassinations continue: the most recent was on December 26th 2009, when six Palestinians were arbitrarily killed by the Israeli army as people around the world were still celebrating Christmas.
The UN Security Council, the EU and the new US Obama Administration have done nothing to sanction Israel for its actions. Soon after the military assault a year ago, Europe’s leading politicians met and laughed with Israeli leaders. The EU continues to grant Israel favourable trading rights. Obama stayed silent throughout the military assault and has done little to alleviate the suffering of Gaza since then. Although a UN fact-finding mission found Israel guilty of war crimes, and most UN member states endorsed the mission’s report, the US, predictably, voted against it in November 2009.
To stop this ongoing misery, the siege of Gaza must end and the borders must be opened. Governments have failed to act - we must act instead. We stand in solidarity with the 1300 Peace Activists, including a holocaust survivor, who have converged in Egypt to join the non-violent Gaza Freedom March to the Gaza/Israeli border on New Year’s Eve, and demand that they be allowed to enter Gaza.
The Israeli state is now effectively an apartheid state. It should be isolated as South Africa was isolated when it was an apartheid state. World leaders will do nothing but go along with the US and Israel. It is up to people across the world to force governments to take action to sanction Israel and to help the people of Palestine gain their human rights.
The Irish Anti War Movement calls on the Irish public to:
For more info contact: