We are determined to break the siege. We 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.
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.
Contact your local consulate here: http://www.mfa. gov.eg/MFA_ Portal/en- GB/mfa_websits/
Contact the Palestine Division in Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cairo
Ahmed Azzam, tel +202-25749682 Email: ahmed.azzam@ mfa.gov.eg
In the U.S., contact the Egyptian Embassy, 202-895-5400 and ask for Omar Youssef or email omaryoussef@ hotmail.com
Tell them there is no "Siege". Tell them just this month
* The amount of merchandise entering the Gaza Strip increased - over 64,000 tons (89% from the private sector and only 11% from the international community) of food, medicines, hygiene products, clothing, agricultural supplies, and cement.
* Fuel: Almost 10 million liters of diesel fuel for the power station and over 1,100 tons of cooking gas were delivered to the Gaza Strip.
* 7,000 heads of cattle were imported for the Eid al-Adha holiday.
* 1,862 Palestinians crossed from the Gaza Strip into Israel, the West Bank and the Allenby Bridge crossing.
* 848 International staff members entered the Gaza Strip.
* 83 Israelis entered the G.S for humanitarian reasons.
* The Erez Terminal renovations are almost complete on the Palestinian side. All that is needed is the installation of the electrical wiring in order to complete the project. This should be accomplished in December.
* The Power Plant in Gaza received 12 new transformers as well as other electrical equipment.
* The North Gaza Wastewater facility was discussed at several meetings between World Bank officials and members of the Palestinian and Israeli infrastructure teams.
* Communications equipment was delivered to the Palestinian Water Authority.
And tell the Code Pinkers the pyramids of Giza are much more educational than the Gaza strip