U.S. Citizens attacked by Egyptian Riot Police in Cairo in front of U.S. Embassy By Cindy Sheehan

29 December, 2009

Call the U.S. Embassy to demand the release of those detained/that permission is granted for the March to cross into Gaza: Telephone: (202) 2797 3300.

[A couple of you have written to say that this number Telephone: (202) 2797 3300 does not work as a DC number. It is the number of the American Embassy in Cairo. Ironically, it has the same prefix as DC.

If you dial the number (and dialing on SKYPE if you have an account is very inexpensive), make sure you have a 00 in front of the 202. SKYPE will do that for you.

Also, the Americans have been released, but this is a good number to keep, because the story is not finished. Please hold on to the number. We may need it again.


One of my friends, Joshua Smith, just texted me from Cairo and said that some U.S. citizens of the Gaza Freedom March went to the U.S. Embassy today there to try and implore the staff there to intercede on behalf of the March to help get them into Gaza—they were not so warmly welcomed.

Recently, almost 1400 people from around the globe met in Cairo to march into Gaza to join Gazans in solidarity and to help expose their plight after years of blockade and exactly a year after the violent attack in what Israel called “Operation Cast Lead” that killed hundreds of innocent Gazan civilians. So far the Marchers have been denied access (Egypt closed the Rafah crossing) and their gatherings have become increasingly and more violently suppressed.

In my understanding of world affairs, embassies are stationed in various countries so citizens who are traveling can seek help in times of trouble, but this doesn’t appear to be so right at this moment in Cairo.

Josh reports, and I also just got off the phone with my good friend and Veterans for Peace board member, Mike Hearington, that about 50 U.S. citizens were very roughly seized and thrown (in at least one case literally) into a detention cell at the U.S. embassy. We are talking about U.S. citizens here being manhandled by Egyptian riot police. According to Josh and Mike (who both just narrowly escaped), it appears that people with cameras are especially being targeted. Another good friend of mine, and good friend of peace, Fr. Louis Vitale is one of those being detained. Fr. Louis is well into his seventies!

Josh posted this on his Facebook wall about his near-detention experience:

We just got away. They were trying to drag me in but we kept moving… And most were dog piling another guy. Then they drug him into the parking lot barricaded riot police zone, lifted him up and threw him over the police and down into the zone. And attacking those taking pictures or attempting to.

When I was talking to Mike he said that an Egyptian told him that all Egyptians are in solidarity with the Marchers and with the people of Gaza/Palestine, of course, but the “Big Boss” (the U.S.) is calling the shots.

Egypt is third in line for U.S. foreign aid (behind Iraq and Israel) and its dictator for life, Hosni Mubarek, is a willing puppet for his masters: the US/Israeli cabal. Israel could not pursue its apartheid policies without the U.S. and it’s equally important for this cabal to have a sold-out ally as its neighbor.

Today also happens to be the anniversary of the 1890 U.S. massacre of Native Americans (Lakota Sioux) at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. It is sad enough that we are also living on stolen land, but also that the Israeli government had good teachers in disposing of its indigenous population!

What are the Israeli settlements on the West Bank, if not stolen land from the indigenous population and what is Gaza if not a mega-reservation? As at Wounded Knee 119 years ago, the Israeli siege and attack on Gaza is nothing more than big bullies shooting fish in a barrel.

Call the U.S. Embassy to demand the release of those detained/that permission is granted for the March to cross into Gaza: Telephone: (20-2) 2797 3300.

Weren’t things supposed to “change” in the Age of Obama?

Gaza Freedom Marchers walled in behind police barricade in front of UN office in Cairo

28 December, 2009 — Codepink

Cairo – Hundreds of activists staged a sit-in outside the United Nations building in Cairo demanding that the world body intervene to facilitate their entry into Gaza.

Egyptian security forces surrounded the demonstration while protesters chanted slogans calling for an end to the Israeli siege. A delegation headed by Filipino senator Walden Bello held negotiations with UN representatives to ask for safe entry into Gaza for all marchers. UN attempts to reach out to the Egyptian government did not yield results, but the UN officials agreed to try to set up a meeting with the Foreign Ministry’s Chief of Staff and to deliver the groups’ letter to President Mubarak.

Protestors dispersed at the end of the day promising to return with more creative actions. Eleven marchers – four Spanish, three Egyptians, one German, one Italian, one American and one northern Irish – vowed to spend the night at the UN building. Egyptian forces are surrounding them and there are fears for their safety.

Meanwhile, Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein, 85, began a hunger strike to call the world’s attention to the current impasse. She was joined by eleven other hunger strikers.

“We are determined to enter Gaza, the criminal siege cannot continue”, said Ziyaad Lunat of the Gaza Freedom March organizing committee.

Viva Palestina convoy re-routed through Syria By Saed Bannoura

29 December, 2009 — IMEMC News

viva-pal-imemc.jpgViva Palestina members in Aqaba, Jordan (photo from viva palestina)

A humanitarian aid convoy on its way to the Gaza Strip has been re-routed through Syria after it was turned away at the Gulf of Aqaba.

The ‘Viva Palestina’ convoy consists of 250 vehicles including trucks, ambulances and buses filled with medical and school supplies for the people of Gaza.

This is the third Viva Palestina convoy to travel to Gaza since the Israeli invasion last year. British Parliament member George Galloway is leading the convoy, which includes four hundred fifty participants from a number of European and Arab countries.

It is one of two major convoys scheduled to enter Gaza this week, on the anniversary of Israel’s massive invasion one year ago. The other is the Gaza Freedom March, which is scheduled to cross into Gaza through the Rafah border crossing on Friday, with over 1400 participants from 42 countries.

Anton Abagama, who is a participant on the Viva Palestina convoy, told the IMEMC, ‘Egyptian authorities have given a very hostile reception to the convoy. They are not willing to negotiate, they are not willing to even think of any alternative. There have been many prime ministers, ex-prime ministers, and Members of Parliament who have contacted the Egyptian authorities on behalf of Viva Palestina. But to no avail. So now, we have to turn back to Syria, and hope we get through at Al-Arij….Egypt is being pressured from two sides: by Israel and by the US, to take the stand that they are taking.’