Saturday, December 26, 2009

Goodbye West Bank

Tonight I sit in my living room surrounded by three Palestinian women who are explaining to me, in a mixture of Arabic, English and gestures, the best way to make the traditional Palestinian dish of Makluba. Tomorrow I leave the West Bank for Gaza. My route will take me through the Negev Desert and across the Sinai Peninsula to Cairo where I will meet up with 1300 other internationals who are gathering for the Gaza Freedom March. Our plan is to travel from Cairo to Rafah where we will cross into Gaza. On December 31st we will join the 50,000 Gazans marching from the town of Abu Drabo, virtually flattened by Operation Cast Lead, to the Erez Crossing with Israel demanding the siege of Gaza end.

Israel’s attack on Gaza, targeted civilians, children, schools and factories and is clearly a crime against humanity. The ensuing year-long siege which has prevented basic humanitarian necessities, everything from medicine to cement from entering Gaza by land or by sea could not have happened without the tacit (and sometimes active) support of the Western international community. According to a friend of mine, paper, basic office paper, is in such huge demand that there is essentially a futures market in paper.

Unfortunately Egypt, most likely under Israeli and US guidance, has now, less then a week before our scheduled departure from Cairo decided to deny us access to Gaza. Hopefully in the coming days as internationals gather in Cairo their position will change, perhaps it will not.

So tomorrow morning I say goodbye to the West Bank and head, hopefully to another front of the occupation. I’m sure I’ll be able to muster something a bit more insightful at a later date. Perhaps during my 22 hour layover in Zurich? But I just wanted to post a little update before I head out. Keep the pressure on Egypt and the US to let us in. Talk to you soon.


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