Faith leaders will lead peace march to seek end of Gaza siege

Faith leaders will lead peace march to seek end of Gaza siege

By staff writers
25 Dec 2009

On 31 December 2009, a Gaza Freedom March will gather 1,400 people from across the globe to march nonviolently alongside Palestinian peoples to seek an end to the siege of the territory.

The peaceful demonstration to break the siege of Gaza represents the largest ever gathering of international solidarity activists in the Middle East.

The Interfaith Gaza Satyagraha is an affinity group that will form part of the march. More than 40 participants from the United States, Canada, and Australia will make a religious witness to the need to open the borders.

"Our common ground is a deep concern about the disastrous impact of the blockade of goods and services upon the people of Gaza," said Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, co-founder of the Shomer Shalom Network for Jewish Nonviolence.

For a quarter-century, Gottlieb has led interfaith delegations to Israel and Palestine. She declared: "As an American Jew, I am particularly concerned about the huge number of deadly US weapons, including white phosphorus and DIME bombs, which were used in Israel's assault on Gaza a year ago."

Other North American interfaith participants include: Mark Johnson, executive director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation; Maher Musleh of the Muslim Public Affairs Council of Wichita, Kansas; Catholic peace leaders, including Jesuit Fr John Dear and Franciscan Fr. Louie Vitale; the Rev Odinga Maddox, pastor of Mount Hope AME Zion Church in White Plains, NY; Jewish/Wiccan best-selling author Starhawk; numerous Quakers, including David Hartsough, executive director of Peaceworkers; and Presbyterian Peace Fellowship members.

"As a multi-faith witness, we share a common belief that collective punishment, blockade, and military attack not only does not provide peace and security for anyone in the region, these actions are illegal according to international, humanitarian, and religious law," said Mark Johnson.

He noted that Interfaith Gaza Satyagraha participants are committed to reconciliation initiatives as well as advocacy in Congress, direct nonviolent action, and other forms of protest against the siege.

Johnson added: "In this season of renewal, may hope be renewed for open borders, an end to occupation, and a new era of justice and peace."

More information about the Gaza Freedom March is available online at http://www.gazafreedommarch.org

The Fellowship of Reconciliation, founded in 1915, is the oldest interfaith peace and justice organization in North America. More information about FoR is available online at www.forusa.org and in the UK at www.for.org.uk

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