Amira Hass also has an interesting article on the reception that the Gaza Freedom March gained in Gaza - it's apparent from her report that Hamas' grip is tightening in Gaza. The protesters who had contacts with non-Hamas Gazan groups were hindered in their attempts to make contact and stay with members of those group (like the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine). She writes:
The international organizers of the march coordinated it with civil society, various non-governmental organizations, which were also supposed to involve the Popular Committee to Break the Siege, a semi-official organization affiliated with Hamas. Many European activists have long-standing connections with left-wing organizations in the Gaza Strip. Those organizations, especially the relatively large Popular Front, had organized lodging for several hundred guests in private homes. When the Hamas government heard this, it prohibited the move. "For security reasons." What else?Perhaps the foreign activists will also gain some understanding of why the Israelis don't trust Hamas and why they have blockaded Gaza to try to bring down the Hamas regime.
Also "for security reasons," apparently, on Thursday morning, the activists discovered a cordon of stern-faced, tough Hamas security men blocking them from leaving the hotel (which is owned by Hamas). The security officials accompanied the activists as they visited homes and organizations.
During the march itself, when Gazans watching from the sidelines tried to speak with the visitors, the stern-faced security men blocked them. "They didn't want us to speak to ordinary people," one woman concluded...
In meetings without the security men, several activists got the impression that non-Hamas residents live in fear, and are afraid to speak or identify themselves by name. "Now I understand that the call for 'Freedom for Gaza' has another meaning," one young man told me.
The second Harry's Place article is about Hedy Epstein, an 85 year old German Jewish refugee who left Germany in 1939 with the Kindertransport for Britain. Her parents were murdered in Auschwitz. She has now become involved with the Free Gaza Movement and as the article says, has become an "icon" of that movement. She went on a hunger strike in Cairo. She is also apparently on the advisory board for Deir Yassin Remembered, which is led by Daniel McGowan and Paul Eisen. McGowan claims to be an advocate of the Palestinian cause, but his primary focus now seems to be on denying that the Holocaust occurred. It seems very odd to me that Hedy Epstein would be willing to work with a man who denies the truth of how her parents were murdered.
Perusing the DYR website, I discover a vile article, just posted by Henry Herskovitz (another DYR advisory board member). He finds Code Pink insufficiently radical because they won't go along with his assertion that it's necessary to "focus their attentions on the underlying cancer (Zionism, if you prefer)." Does Hedy Epstein really go along with the hideous anti-semitic stance of this organization that she has lent her name to?