Monday, February 2, 2009

US codepink to visit Gaza to witness destruction, meet officials

"WASHINGTON, (PIC)-- The US codepink women for peace organization announced the arrival of its delegation to Cairo en route to the Gaza Strip to witness the horrific damage of the 22-day Israeli attacks, demand an opening of the Rafah border crossing for humanitarian aid, and meet with Palestinian women's aid groups and, if possible, Hamas officials.

The delegation, which includes Medea Benjamin, a codepink co-founder, and retired officer Ann Wright, a former US state department official, plans to enter Gaza, after arrival in Egypt on Friday, and spend few days in Gaza.

In a statement, codepink criticized US envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell for not visiting Gaza and meeting with Hamas officials. "What sense does it make to send a special envoy to the Middle East, but not have him visit war-torn Gaza and speak to Hamas?" Benjamin said.

She added: "In our visit to Gaza, we will be doing precisely what George Mitchell should be doing; getting an understanding of the devastation that resulted from the Israeli invasion, and talking to governmental, non-governmental and UN representatives."

Meanwhile, an official source at the Rafah crossing reported that there are 22 trucks carrying integrated hospital equipment granted by the Turkish Al-Manara society pending entry into Gaza. A Turkish ship arrived at the Arish port on Saturday with 192 fully-equipped operating rooms worth about $1,800,000."

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