December 31, 2009

ALL or NONE - Gaza Freedom March Rejects Egyptian Offer to Allow 100 Through

By Ellen Davidson and Judith Mahoney Pasternak

CAIRO, December 30–After long meetings into the night and a heated confrontation between protesters at a Cairo bus station, the leadership of the Gaza Freedom March (GFM) here has rescinded its acceptance of an Egyptian government offer to allow 100 of the 1300-strong delegation to cross the border into Gaza. The group gathered in Cairo to travel together to a Dec. 31 march in Gaza against the Israeli blockade of the territory and to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Israel’s 22-day bombing and invasion that killed 1,400 and left thousands wounded and more homeless. [ READ FULL ARTICLE AT THE INDYPENDENT ]

Painting a banner at the bus station

Statement by VFP Member Bill Perry before the march began:

I am a Disabled Viet Nam Combat Veteran whose main occupation is helping WW II, Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq, and Afghanistan Veterans get the evaluations, treatment, and compensation for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that they deserve.

1,000 other Americans, in addition to myself, will be participating in the Gaza Freedom March (GFM) on December 31st in Occupied Palestine. My main motivation for participating in the Gaza Freedom March (GFM) is that the one common thread in the narratives of most of our Combat Vets, from WW II through Afghanistan & Iraq, is the terrible tragedies that the children victims of war are forced to endure.

December 27th is the first anniversary of the brutal 23 day Israeli assault on Gaza, an area the size of Philadelphia, with roughly the same population. The December 31st GFM is important to me in that it will help focus the worlds' attention on the
ongoingIsraeli siege on Gaza, and the Israeli sanctions that force thousands of women & children to either live in pup tents, or in hollowed out areas in the rubble of their former homes.

During the Israeli assault they used Apache Helicopters with Hell Fire Missiles, unmanned aircraft known as Drones (armed with missiles), F-16 jets w/ 500 pound bombs, and white phosphorous artillery munitions in civilian areas, which burn victims to death and are illegal under International Humanitarian law. The body count was over 1,400 Palestinians (including nearly 400 children) and 13 Israelis (all but three were combatants). Israel trumpeted their 100:1 "kill ratio," without mentioning that half their 10 KIA were from their own "friendly fire", which would, in effect, make their "kill ratio" about 200:1.

A year later, Israel not only continues to block shipments of cement, mortar, bricks, lumber, window glass, and other materials needed for rebuilding Gaza homes and schools, but also school supplies, pencils, pens, sanitary napkins and tampons.

Over 360 Gazans have died since the January assault from denial of medical care, including Tamer Gamel El Sakany, 16, who was banned from traveling abroad for Leukemia treatment.

I cannot, for the life of me, understand why the folks whose history includes imprisonment in the Warsaw Ghetto, a mere 70 years ago, continue to jail the 1.5 million residents of the Gaza strip, in the worlds' largest open air prison (56% of the 1.5 million open air prisoners are children).

Nearly 190 countries, worldwide, have expressed outrage, yet 3 Billion American tax dollars per year help Israel enforce this ongoing human tragedy.

Exactly where and how does the rational and sane world begin the therapy programs for all these traumatized children?

Bill Perry, Service Officer
Disabled American Veteran CSO

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