On June 6th, 2009 demonstrators in Tel Aviv participated in the yearly demonstration against the Israeli occupation in Palestine. Around 800 Israeli, Palestinian and internationals marched through the streets in efforts to raise awareness of the '42 years of occupation'.
The next day, participants of the Coalition of Women for Peace and CodePink Gaza Siege attempted to go through the Erez Gaza crossing in order to deliver and setup playground equipment, following a successful trip by CodePink through the Rafah checkpoint in Egypt to Gaza.
Throughout the long wait, clowns and American activists, led by Dr. Patch Adams (the infamous clown doctor who inspired the Hollywood film starring Robin Williams), appealed to the Israeli guards with playful antics, amusing but not convincing the controls to allow them through.
While the delegation was not able to deliver the food, donations and toys to the Red Crescent Society in Gaza, their efforts attracted some international attention and somewhat softened the checkpoint's stringent regulations. One Reuters journalist noted, media typically covering events on the Erez crossing had not been able to so closely approach the barrier since the attack on Gaza this last winter.
Some Israeli activists fear their message opposing the occupation is not being heard, and the leftist movement in Israel is diminishing. Their reasoning: biased Israeli media, bolstered by the Zionist dominated Israeli government, continues to reinforce the prevalent culture of fear within the general public.
However, the persistent actions by solidarity organisations and networks in Israel and internationally continue to raise hope amongst those working to end the occupation.
Read more about the Gaza Siege delegations' efforts here: