The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jodie Evans, CODEPINK co-founder, 310-621-5635 (international number)
Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK co-founder, 20 2 018 956 1919 (Israel number)

Tamara Schreiber, Coalition of Women for Peace, 0527 912972 

CODEPINK and Israeli Feminist Group Protest at Erez Checkpoint at Israel/Gaza Border

Will host continued protests through Israel, West Bank this week

EREZ, Israel

More than three dozen Americans and Israelis rallied today at the
border checkpoint here into Gaza, hoping to be let through into the
war-torn area with playground building materials, food and other
products to delivered to the Gazan people, after Israel authorities
barred them from entering.

Patch Adams, the American clown-doctor documented in the 1998 Hollywood film starring Robin Williams, led the 33-member delegation

If allowed into Gaza, the delegation planned to deliver the products to Gaza's non-profit aid organization, the Red Crescent Society
for distribution into the area. If further denied entry, they will join
a a workshop on "The Role of International Community in Freeing Gaza"
and several tours, and join protests in Jerusalem and the West Bank
between June 10 and 14. They will "dig tunnels" near the checkpoint,
with signs marked by "This is Gaza prison," to smuggle the goods inside.

Their efforts come just a week after CODEPINK's 66-person
delegation that crossed through Gaza through the Rafah, Egypt
checkpoints into Gaza May 30, bringing toys, school supplies and
playground building-supplies, and built three small playgrounds there.
The delegation met with government officials, including the Ministers
of Health and Education, Members of Parliament, the Speaker of the
Legislative Council and the Deputy of the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Delegates also met with visiting schools, hospitals, mental health
workers, human rights lawyers, businessmen and women's groups,

The group was shocked by the brutality of the Israeli invasion that
killed more than 1,400, displaced more than 50,000 people and destroyed
approximately 4,000 homes. They were also appalled by the effects of
the 21-month siege that has virtually sealed the borders and
constitutes a form of collective punishment, which is illegal under
international law.

"The siege in Gaza is keeping the people in a virtual prison and it
must be lifted," said CODEPINK member Tighe Barry. "We are appealing to
the president to act now to stop this humanitarian crisis and truly
move the peace process forward."

For more information, please call Jodie Evans, CODEPINK
co-founder, 310-621-5635 (international number), or Medea Benjamin,
CODEPINK co-founder, 20 2 018 956 1919 (Israel number), or Tamara
Schreiber, Coalition of Women for Peace, 0527 912972.

composed of the American peace group CODEPINK and the Israeli feminist
group Coalition of Women for Peace to the gates. They carried boxes of
"contraband," or items that the Israeli government has barred from
passing through the blockaded border in Gaza. These items included
pumpkin, tea, coffee, chocolate, clothes and shoes, books, hair
conditioner, wood, plates and glasses, furniture, light bulbs, toys,
iron, cement, paper, candles and matches, sheets, blankets, musical
instruments, animals, silverware, threads and needles, semolina,
sesame/tahina, jelly/jam, nuts and fuel.

CODEPINK is a women-led grassroots organization working to end U.S. wars and militarism, support peace and human rights initiatives, and redirect our tax dollars into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming programs.

(818) 275-7232