A perilous mission
JANUARY 11, 2009 – A “Convoy of Peace” accompanied by Imams and Rabbis is set to roll from Israel on January 18 in support of the local population living Sderot and Gaza.
Supervised and organised by the Geneva-based Hommes de Parole Foundation and the members of the EquiLibre association, the convoy will stop in Sderot, where a demonstration is scheduled in support of the people living in the south of Israel. The convoy will then head to Gaza with an estimated 1,000 tons of essential goods. A similar demonstration of support will also take place in Gaza.
As reported by jewishinfoNews in December 2008, The Third Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace, held at Unesco headquarters in Paris, from 15 to 17 December, focused on the Israel-Palestine confict and was entitled “The Sacredness of Peace.” Following the Congress, a final declaration was issued, together with an action plan that formally engaged the participants to work in depth and tangibly for peace.
This morning Hommes de Parole issued a statement that said, “The participants, thus, were impelled to react to the spiral of violence in Gaza and the south of Israel where violent clashes are taking place with, alas, the main victims being civilians.”
In their statement Hommes de Parole said:
“Further to the commitment made by the spiritual leaders during the Congress and further to the increasing violence, the decision was taken that a “Convoy for Peace” would be organised, together with other partners.
The Convoy will be supervised and organised by the Hommes de Parole Foundation and the members of the EquiLibre association, who, together with the Israeli, Palestinian and Egyptian authorities successfully sent convoys to Gaza in 1995 and 1996.
EquiLibre, which created the Hommes de Parole Foundation, has had 15 years of experience in sending convoys by road to countries at war, in particular, the convoys for peace to Sarajevo, Kurdistan, Iraq, Chechenya and Rwanda… This experience is a guarantee of success for the present convoy.
This convoy will have three goals:
The main goal is to respond to the humanitarian emergency created by the conflict. The first step will be to collect 1000 tons of essential goods which will be distributed upon arrival by the Hommes de Parole Foundation, Caritas, the United Nations agencies and the Palestinian Red Crescent.
Assistance for the civilian population will be accompanied by an appeal from the spiritual leaders for an immediate end to bombardments in Gaza and the south of Israel. This first “Convoy for Peace” will be accompanied by Imams, Rabbis, and Christian and civilian leaders. It will be leaving on 18 January, and stop in Sderot where a demonstration is scheduled in support of the people living in the south of Israel. A demonstration will then be held in Gaza in support of the local population.
Going beyond the material assistance, the solidarity shown through the public demonstrations and the convoy of trucks will provide immense psychological support that the people of these region so desperately need to rekindle a spark of hope.
Further, because of the amount of damage that has been done and that, unfortunately, will be done, people’s needs do not end when the fighting stops. Foresight is essential, starting now, in order to continue providing assistance in the future. With this in mind, we want to build a “road bridge” to meet the people’s need for however long it takes, as we did in Sarajévo, Kigali, Baghdad, etc.
At present we are on site, ready for the convoy to roll, and we have just received the necessary authorisations to bring the trucks into Gaza. “
Further details of “The Convoy of Peace” can be obtained at: www.hommesdeparole.org