Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign -- Media Release
Thursday 24th December 2009
Scots group heads to Palestine to break the Gaza siege.
A Scottish group is set to join around two thousand internationals in a bid to break Israel’s siege of Gaza at the end of the year.
Twelve members of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign will spend Christmas in Cairo but hope to be in Gaza for Hogmanay to put pressure on Israeli authorities to end the crippling blockade of the devastated area.
The “Gaza Freedom March” will bring together individuals and groups from all over world in what organisers describe as "an historic initiative to break the siege that has imprisoned the 1.5 million people who live there”.
The international group hopes to enter Gaza via Egypt on Dec 29th, and march through Gaza alongside Palestinians to the Israeli border by Dec 31st, where they will demand the crossing point be opened and the siege lifted.
A statement on the organisation’s website notes, “Dec. 27 will mark the first anniversary of the Israeli attack and invasion of the Gaza Strip. And although the Israeli tanks have left, the complete closure of the borders continues.”
The group hopes the march “will call worldwide attention to the ongoing humanitarian crisis… [and] force the leaders of our governments to tell Israel ‘enough is enough; open the borders!’”
Mick Napier is chair of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC), one of hundreds of organisations sending delegations to the march. He explained, “Palestinians need to know that they are not alone, and Israeli ministers should know that they are.
“The United Nations has made clear that it believes Israel is guilty of war crimes, and wants to see an end to Israel’s years of impunity. SPSC is delighted to participate in this initiative which we hope will add to the pressure on Israel to end its illegal and immoral siege of Gaza.”
Also taking part is 85 year-old Holocaust survivor, Hedy Epstein. “I want to tell the people I meet in Gaza that I am a representative of many people in my city and in other places in the US who are outraged at what the US, Israeli and European governments are doing to the Palestinians and that our numbers are growing," Epstein said.
Notes for editors:
1. The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign started in autumn 2000 in response to the Palestinian second uprising against Israeli occupation (Intifada). The SPSC has branches and groups of supporters in several Scottish cities and universities, as well as individual members across Scotland and elsewhere.
For further information, contact:
SPSC Secretary: Sofiah MacLeod: 0131 620 0052; 07931200361
2. SPSC is sending a delegation of 12 members to the march; most will arrive in Cairo on Christmas Eve.
Details of participants can be found here:
and a blog has been set up here:
Interviews with participants can be arranged on request.
3. The Gaza Freedom March
The Gaza Freedom March has been organised by the International Coalition to End the Illegal Siege of Gaza, an umbrella group of individuals and organizations that share the goal of bringing an end to the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Members and/or endorsers include groups such as CODEPINK: Women for Peace, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, and Medical Aid for Palestine. Individual endorsers include author Alice Walker, Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire and Dr. Patch Adams, Howard Zinn, Gore Vidal, Arun Gandhi, Naomi Klein.
For a complete list, visit here.
How likely is the march to be successful in achieving its objectives, since so many other demonstrations, etc. have not had an impact?
No one event or activity will end the siege of the Gaza Strip or the Israeli occupation overall. However, we believe we are at a critical juncture in global public opinion, with citizens and governments becoming increasingly critical of Israeli policies. The tipping point, when Israel is forced to open the borders and allow self-determination for the Palestinians, is within reach. Thus, we are designing the march and its accompanying activities to have maximum impact on decision makers in the United States, Egypt, Israel and countries around the world by: a) generating media coverage, b) educating participants so they can spread the word in their home communities and c) pressuring the countries that are enabling the collective punishment of the citizens of the Gaza Strip.
For more information on the Gaza Freedom March, visit: www.gazafreedommarch.com
The Press Room can be found here: www.gazafreedommarch.com/article.php?id=5025
A Press Pack can be downloaded here: www.gazafreedommarch.com/downloads/PRESS%20PACK.pdf