The parents of Rachel Corrie, the 23-year-old American killed by an Israeli Defense Forces bulldozer in Gaza six years ago, will arrive here Thursday to join Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Alice Walker and 58 other Americans, Canadians and Europeans on a historic aid delegation to Gaza this week.
WHEN: March 5 (delegates arrive) to March 12, 2009
WHERE: Cairo, Egypt; crossing into Gaza at Rafah border
Press conference: 3 p.m. March 5, lobby of Arabesque Hotel, 6th floor. 11 Ramsis St., Abdel Mounim Riad Square, Cairo, Egypt
There will be a press conference at 3 p.m. Thursday at the Arabesque Hotel in downtown Cairo to announce the purpose and itinerary of the delegation, the first of its size and kind to attempt to enter Gaza since July 2007.
Delegates — which include members of the Jewish and Muslim communities, as well as doctors, businesspeople, lawyers and college students — will meet with Palestinian aid groups, Gazan women, and United Nations officials. They will also bear witness to the aftermath of the three-week Israeli assault earlier this year and deliver 2,000 gift baskets to Gazan women, purchased through an outpouring of donations through the CODEPINK website to honor Gazan women on International Women’s Day, March 8.
“I have been to Gaza several times since my daughter’s death,” said Cindy Corrie, of Washington State. “But now it is so important for me to go back, after the people of Gaza have suffered such outrageous devastation – beyond understanding, beyond imagination. I feel a personal need to show the people that I am in solidarity with them, and that I will continue to be in solidarity until the women and children and families have the same opportunities that my family has.”
Traveling at the invitation of the Gaza Gender Initiative of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the delegation will camp out at the Rafah border if Egyptian authorities prevent them from entering Gaza, said delegation organizer Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK co-founder. Most humanitarian groups and aid have been denied entry. Delegates will also pressure the U.S. government to demand Israel lift the blockade and halt settlement expansion into Palestinian land.
“We’ve had an overwhelming positive response to this delegation and its mission,” Benjamin said. “Women worldwide feel tremendous compassion toward the women of Gaza and are ready for a U.S. policy based on respect for the human rights of all people in the region.”
For more information, please call Jean Stevens, national media coordinator, at 508-769-2138 or Medea Benjamin, delegation organizer and CODEPINK co-founder, at 018 9561919 (in Cairo).