The International Movement to Open the Rafah Border (IMORB) is into the fourth day of a sit-in at the Rafah Gate. The group consists of Christian Chantegrel, Portugal; Micheline Garreau, Jacque Denko, Laila Mami France; Paki Wieland, Ellen Graves, and Don Bryant, USA and an Egyptian journalist, Iman Badawi. A German woman, Alona, and her six Palestinian children, aged 2-12, have joined the sit-in camp because they were denied entrance to Gaza and a reunion with Alona’s husband and three older children.
The IMORB activists are demanding an end to the siege of Gaza that has been in place over two years, and maintained by Israel, Palestinian Authority and Egypt with the support of superpowers like Europe and the US.
Today, three of the group have begun a hunger strike. “I was inspired by a Palestinian Belgian, Mohammad, who joined our camp but was driven away by border security late last night,” said Don Bryant of Cleveland, Ohio, USA, who began to fast today. “Mohammad told me of a 17-day hunger strike he did with other prisoners in an Israeli prison. They struck to gain simple accommodations in the prison. I am doing the same to ask the US, Israel, Palestinian Authority and Egypt to open the border to Gaza, so that 1.5 million Gazans can get food and medicine, and can rebuild after Israeli military strikes that have left the Gaza Strip decimated.”
Ellen Graves of West Springfield, MA and Paki Wieland of Northampton, MA are taking part in the hunger strike. The IMORB plans to continue the sit-in and hunger strike until Alona’s family and the hundreds of other Palestinians waiting in nearby El Arish and Rafah, are allowed to enter Gaza. Many Gazans are anxious to exit to Egypt as well. “We need the opening of the border for them to freely pass in both directions,” reiterated Micheline Garreau of Nantes, France.
The Egyptian population has offered support to the IMORB by giving transportation, food and supplies. Palestinians in Gaza have been sending text messages of support to the international activists.
The Egyptian police and border security are tolerating the IMORB sit-in for now. People have reported that they have been restricted from entering the area, today. Border officials have said the border will be open for the sick and injured Palestinians on Wednesday.
For interviews or to speak with hunger strikers contact:
Don Bryant 0020 (0) 177543411 English,
Christian Chantegrel 0020 (0)197490757 French,
Paki Wieland 0020 (0) 187358621 – English,
Iman Baddawi 00 20 (0) 19 791 07 53 (Arabic – English)
International Movement to Open Rafah Border