For months international, Israeli, and Palestinian activists have been
planning the Gaza Freedom
March. Organizers hoped an international delegation of 1300 activists
from around the world would
break the siege on Gaza by marching through Gaza to the northern
border and through the Erez
crossing, join the Israeli march. The Real News attended the Israeli side
of the protest, and though the
Egyptian government prevented the activists from entering Gaza,
hundreds gathered to raise
awareness of the desperate situation in Gaza a year after Operation Cast
LIA TARACHANSKY, PRODUCER, TRNN: This is Lia Tarachansky with The Real News in Tel Aviv-Jaffa. We’re standing in the garden of the Gazans, once a bustling transportation center for Gaza’s laborers. Earlier today, Israeli activists departed from here to the Erez Crossing at the northern border of Gaza. They went to demonstrate in solidarity with Gaza Freedom March.
JEFF HALPER, DIRECTOR, ISRAELI COMMITTEE AGAINST HOME DEMOLITIONS: And this is just a piece of it. The whole thing was to sort of put together the four key communities: the Palestinians from the occupied territories, especially Gaza; the Palestinians from inside Israel; the Israeli Jewish peace movement; and the internationals. In fact, the Egyptians, who are really collaborators with the United States, it’s clear, never let the internationals in. And there are Gazans, I understand, some Gazans on the other side, I don’t know how many. And we’ve organized here, you know, our part of it as well. So it’s not as large, it’s not as coherent a statement as what we would have wanted, but nevertheless you have those four communities that are showing thatï¿½. And the idea is to be in solidarity with the Palestinians.
TARACHANSKY: Meanwhile, in Egypt, hundreds of international activists were hoping to hold their long-anticipated march into Gaza. As Egypt prevented Gazans from exiting the strip during the Israeli attack one year ago, now it decided to prevent internationals from entering. As conciliation, the Egyptian government offered the activists 100 entry visas, which at first some accepted but later collectively rejected. Earlier this week, Egypt prevented a 250-truck convoy with humanitarian aid, which is headed by British parliamentarian George Galloway, from entering as well.
MAHMOUD JRERI, RAPPER, D.A.M. HIP HOP COLLECTIVE: [another language] Thank you.
TARACHANSKY: Could you explain what you talked about?
JRERI: I’m talking about you can see my cause, how they’re killing me, and you want me to shut up, while he maintain the language of shooting. We fight for our freedom, our prison [inaudible] because of fighting for the freedom. You tell me why we don’t have freedom. They say because we are terrorist. Well, I ask you why you took the life from us. So this is, you know, very simple. I can’t explain the metaphors and the ways, but it is very basic explanation.
HALPER: No, I think Israel’s idea is to turn the West Bank, those enclaves on the West Bank and Gaza, into a kind of a prison or a bantustan or something like that, in which it encourages people to leave by making life so miserable for them that those that can get outï¿½. And those that can’t get out simply become inmates of open-air prisons. But because their leadership has been neutralized or killed or driven out, they’re easy to control. Last year, after the invasion, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Europe all pledged billions of dollars to rebuild Gaza. Until today, Israel doesn’t allow glass and cement and pasta and basic materials and Gaza. In other words, a year later, the international community has not been able to get Israel even to open the siege enough that Gaza can be rebuilt with international money. So the world is letting Israel do whatever it wants to do.
TARACHANSKY: The day ended with the Israeli-Palestinians at Erez Crossing praying for Gaza.