Gaza freed

IssueMarch 2008
News by David Polden

After months of a tightening siege by Israel in retaliation for Qassam rockets fired into Israel, Gaza was freed on 23 January by a major act of nonviolent direct action. Seven miles of wall dividing Gaza from Egypt was largely destroyed. Tens of thousands crossed, seeking supplies and medical treatment, while Egyptian border guards stood by. Egyptian troops closed the last breach after 11 days. On 18 February, after two weeks of struggle, 30 Israeli peace organizations coordinated by Gush Shalom broke the blockade and delivered 7 tons of supplies, mostly food and water filters. Former member of the Israeli Knesset, Uri Avnery, who accompanied the convoy, said: “There is only one way of stopping the Qassams: to accept the offer of a full and mutual ceasefire on the Gaza border, which was made several times by Hamas leaders.” Manal Awad, of the Palestinian Program for Women's Support, wrote earlier: “This the most difficult period we have ever experienced. Women and children are the most affected of all by what's happening. For the first time, we feel we are helpless.”