Aishah Schwartz, returned from a 4-day siege breaking passage into Gaza from Egypt's Rafah border crossing more determined than ever to lend her voice to the global outcry, evidenced by the massive convergence of over 1,300 representatives from 43 countries, in Cairo, Egypt for the Dec. 31, 2009 Gaza Freedom March, and cal for an end to the siege and embargo on Gaza. Elated to learn that a positive result of the joined efforts of all who have lent their support to the Palestinian cause was so quickly achieved, Schwartz swiftly moved to alert her community.
On January 21, 2010, less than one month after a Dec. 29, 2009 report affirming that two lone U.S. Congressmen, Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Brian Baird (D-WA), whose year-long struggle in solidarity with more than 1.4 million Palestinians facing an increasingly dire humanitarian crisis, resulting from the Israeli imposed June 2007 siege and embargo of Gaza, followed by its 23-day air assault, ending January 18, 2009, resulting in excess of 1,300 deaths, were able to secure the signatures of an additional 52 representatives endorsing a letter to President Barack Obama, delivered by Ellison and Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA), advocating for implementation of a variety of immediate relief efforts. The letter stipulated, among other things, the following:
Movement of people, especially students, the ill, aid workers, journalists, and those with family concerns, into and out of Gaza;
Access to clean water, including water infrastructure materials;
Access to plentiful and varied food and agricultural materials;
Access to medicine and health care products and suppliers;
Access to sanitation supplies, including sanitation infrastructure materials;
Access to construction materials for repairs and rebuilding;
Access to fuel;
Access to spare parts;
Prompt passage into and out of Gaza for commercial and agricultural goods; and
Publication and review of the list of items prohibited to the people of Gaza.
Schwartz added, "And to the community at large – you have to know, without your support, the efforts of these Congressional representatives would continue to languish; along with the Palestinian people. Your voice, your persistence, does and can make a difference. Please review the list of names included on the January 21, 2010 letter delivered to President Obama. If you do not see your representative's name, make a commitment today to encourage them to lend their support, and please also take the time to thank those who have lent their pen, and hopefully their hearts, to the cause."
Signors in alphabetical order: Brian Baird, Tammy Baldwin, Earl Blumenauer, Bruce D. Braley, Lois Capps, Andre Carson, Yvette D. Clarke, John Conyers, Elijah E. Cummings, Peter A. DeFazio, William D. Delahunt, John D. Dingell, Michael E. Capuano, Donna F. Edwards, Keith Ellison, Sam Farr, Chaka Fattah, Bob Filner, Raul M. Grijalva, Jim Himes, Maurice D. Hinchey, Rush D. Holt, Michael M. Honda, Jay Inslee, Marcy Kaptur, Carolyn C. Kilpatrick, Mary Jo Kilroy, Barbara Lee, Stephen I. Lynch, Eric L. Massa, Betty McCollum, Jim McDermott, James P. McGovern, George Miller, Gwen Moore, James P. Moran, Glen C. Nye, James L. Oberstar, John W. Olver, Bill Pascrell, Jr., Donald M. Payne, David E. Price, Nick J. Rahall, II, Loretta Sanchez, Joe Sestak, Adam Smith, Jackie Speier, Fortney Pete Stark, John Tierney, Paul Tonko, Diane Watson, Peter Welch, Lynn Woolsey, and John A. Yarmuth.
"It's time for President Obama to know we are paying attention; and the change he purported to support in his election campaign cannot come fast enough – particularly for the people of Gaza," concluded Schwartz.
The time to lift the embargo is NOW. Gaza can't wait.
UN: Gaza in State of Physical, Psychological Collapse (Jan. 25, 2010)
January 21, 2010 Congressional Letter to President Obama
Congressman Brian Baird Documents Efforts on Behalf of Gaza
VIDEOS: Congressman Baird's Trips to the Region
International Activist, Aishah Schwartz Initial Report on Four-Day Siege Breaking Visit to Gaza Strip
ARABIC: Aishah Schwartz Visits Al-Amal Institute for Orphans, Gaza – Alwafd (Cairo, Egypt), Jan. 7, 2010
ARABIC: Aishah Schwartz Featured in Post Journalist's Syndicate Candle-Light Vigil Article – Alwafd (Cairo, Egypt), Dec. 31, 2009
ARABIC: Aishah Schwartz Joins Gaza Delegates in Appeal to President Mubarak – Alfwafd (Cairo, Egypt), Dec. 29, 2009
GAZA: 23-Days of War, 928 Days of Closure
GAZA: Through Women's Eyes
GAZA: Through the Eyes of Children
War on Gaza – Aljazeera Labs
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