CODEPINK Group Travels to Gaza to Bring Aid and Witness Devastation From Israeli Assault

November 23rd, 2012


Contact: Alli McCracken, 860-575-5692,

Medea Benjamin, 415-235-6517, 

CODEPINK Group Travels to Gaza to Bring Aid and Witness Devastation From Israeli Assault

In the wake of the ceasefire brokered by Egypt, a 20-person delegation of American journalists and peace advocates is traveling to the decimated territory to witness the hardships now facing the 1.7 million residents, deliver emergency aid and call attention to the need for a longer-term strategy to achieve peace and justice for Palestinians.

The delegates include CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin; former State Department official and retired Col. Ann Wright, and Voices for Creative Nonviolence co-coordinator Kathy Kelly.

“The U.S. government allowed Israel carte blanche for eight days while it pounded more than 1,000 sites in Gaza, disproportionately killing civilians,” noted Wright. “Americans of conscience must witness and report back on the heavy price exacted by our support of Israel, so that taxpayers back home will call for a more humane, productive use of their hard-earned dollars.”

A total of 162 Palestinians were killed during the attack. An estimated 73 percent were civilians, including more than 25 children. Five Israelis were killed. “We mourn the loss of lives on both sides,” said CODEPINK cofounder Medea Benjamin, “but we think it's important to recognize the that the Palestinians have suffered much greater losses, and that the Israeli armaments used in the attack were financed largely by the United States, which sends Israel $3 billion in military funds every year.”

"Referring to Israel, President Obama said no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders,” said Wright, “but with precision-guided bombs decimating entire families in the Gaza Strip, surely the Palestinians deserve the same protection as Israeli citizens.”

After meeting in Cairo on November 26, the delegation will enter Gaza through Egypt's Rafah crossing. In addition to witnessing the damage and hearing the personal stories, they will deliver supplies requested by al-Shifa Hospital and consult with local organizations on how best to keep advocating for a broader peace. Most of the delegation will depart on December 4.

“We are tremendously relieved that a ceasefire has finally been negotiated. Now the international community needs to assure that promises are kept by all sides and work for a broader, longer-term end to the Israeli occupation,” said Benjamin.

Delegation members will post reports on twitter, facebook and website