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Report from Special Team to Gaza, February 18, 2009


We stayed at the gates of Erez Crossing for three days, waiting to receive or "coordination papers" from Israel to enter Gaza. One day we met a delegation of government officials - MPs- from the United Kingdom. We resonated with their concern for the people of Gaza. After waiting some time, they received their coordination papers. They were scheduled to meet with Fr. Musallam, the pastor of the Catholic church in Gaza City that evening, and we were hoping to join them at that gathering. The next day, as we were still waiting outside of Erez, they greeted us as they came from Gaza.

We also met a number of other NGOs entering Gaza. One NGO group that touched us deeply was Save The Children. Another was UNICEF.

During our time there we have been eyewitnesses to the fact that many individuals and groups are not being accepted. Even one of Mother Teresa's Sisters of Charity was denied entry! The sisters have a mission in Gaza City working with handicapped children and the elderly homeless.

Our plan when we came to Palestine/Israel was to be present at the gates of Erez for three days awaiting entrance into Gaza. If we had not entered by then, we would attempt a second option by entering Gaza through Egypt, while continuing to check daily to see if we received coordination papers for entering Erez. Attempting this option through Egypt is part of our mission to explore multiple ways for MPT teams to enter Gaza. We are now on our way to Egypt.

We received word today that donations are coming in to Michigan Peace Team to help cover the costs of this special mission to Gaza. We are deeply grateful for your being part of this important peace work.

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