All, or Nothing? Appendix

This is the letter from the organizers of the March in Gaza, regarding the events I wrote about in my last post. I thought it might be of some interest. Oh, and to all who have left comments, thank you. It feels good to know that people are paying attention. I look forward to having the time to answer some of your comments.

Dear Gaza Freedom March organizers and participants,

After a lot of hesitation and deliberation, we are writing to call on you to reject the “deal” reached with the Egyptian authorities. This deal is bad for us and, we deeply feel, terrible for the solidarity movement.

We initially felt that if representatives of all forty plus countries can go to Gaza and lead a symbolic march along Palestinians it would convey the message to the world public opinion, our main target. However, after listening to the Egyptian Foreign Minister’s press conference last night on Aljazeera and the way he described the deal in details, we are unambiguous in perceiving this compromise as too heavy, too divisive and too destructive to our future work and networking with various solidarity movements around the world.

Mr. Abu Al-Gheit described the 100, that they graciously accepted to allow to enter Gaza, as those from organizations which Egypt considers “good and sincere in standing in solidarity with Gaza the same way as we [the regime] do.” He described the rest as “from organizations that are only interested in subversion and acting against Egyptian interests, to sow havoc on the streets of Egypt, not to stand in solidarity with the Palestinians.”  He also said that the Egyptian public was wise enough to see that those were hooligans and stayed away from them. Other than the obvious divisiveness that agreeing to this deal would cause, what’s wrong with this picture:

1) The Egyptian government in this press conference painted a picture of the great majority of the internationals participating in the GFM as hooligans and agents provocateurs, not real solidarity groups. This is a grave insult to all of us, to all our partners and to the entire GFM, as it depicts us all as partnering with “fanatic,” “destructive” forces, not forces for ending the siege and for the rule of law;

2) Arab and international public pressure on countries imposing the siege on Gaza are rising dramatically due to the actions that you ALL have engaged in and the excellent media messages that you have sent. This deal is being used now to release pressure .

Either they allow all 1400 participants into Gaza (if they are “hooligans,” best to get rid of them from Egypt and “ship” them to Gaza, right?) or we strongly urge you to reject the deal out of hand as too little, too late, too divisive and too ill-conceived.

We cannot possibly decide on this matter, as ultimately this is up to ALL of you. If a CLEAR majority among the international delegations feel that you want to go through with the deal, we shall always welcome you in Gaza and deeply appreciate your solidarity. But we feel your solidarity without coming to Gaza, exposing the siege against you and us, may bear more fruit for us and towards ending the siege, at least from the Egyptian side.

We have repeatedly argued that the march itself is not supposed to be only a symbolic gesture, but rather a key part of a process, a series of events, which may ultimately lead to lifting the deadly siege. We want to intensify and continue building an effective solidarity campaign, not divide it.

We salute you all and thank you from our hearts for the indescribable work you have all done for Gaza!

Respectfully,

Haidar Eid,

Omar Barghouti,

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