Journalists stopped from joining press conference at Rafah

June 23, 2009

Tent at the Rafah Border Peace Camp. Picture IMORB, June 2009

A family and their tent at the Rafah Border Peace Camp. Picture IMORB, June 2009

Recent events at the Rafah border tell us why our world press needs to document these peace camp protests.

On the eleventh day of the peace camp at the Rafah-Egypt border, International Movement to Open the Rafah Border(IMORB) activists have sustained their sit-in protest against the prolonged siege of Gaza. 

The International Movement to Open the Rafah Border (IMORB) says: ” The group of three US citizens and two Egyptian journalists awaits more participants but is concerned that border police are turning people back. An Australian delegation has been unable to get to the border area for four days. A second international delegation is expected to join the sit-in camp soon”.

According to IMORB a number of journalists were prohibited from joining a press conference at the Rafah camp on June 22. One news reporter did come to report on the camp. Mohammad Alhur documented the protest. Alhour writes for www.factjo.com and told IMORB that  journalists had been threatened with losing their primary government ministry jobs if they attended the IMORB conference. 

 An earlier press conference welcoming the ambassador to Japan, a government sanctioned event, had brought a large media contingent to the Rafah border area, says IMORB. The Japanese ambassador  had come to announce that Japan would join the US government in a high tech border surveillance project. 

Pressure to remove Egyptian homes and Bedouin farms from the Rafah border area has increased. IMORB say the Egyptian government attempted such evictions in 1996, sparking an uprising, Intifada Masura. To quell the uprising, some deaths occurred and the leader was jailed. 

Separately, IMORB plans a March for the Martyrs (shohadeh) on Wednesday, June 24, noon, to commemorate the deaths of Gazans in the Israeli winter invasion.

The border is expected to be open for the sick and injured on this day. 

A second Martyrs March is planned for Saturday, June 27, to recognize the fatality victims of the Siege of Gaza. Border authorities have said that the border will be open June 27, 28 and 29.

” They have promised this many times before, only proving to be untrue, disappointing many Palestinian families and individuals,” said Ellen Graves of Western Mass. USA.

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