For Immediate Release
Fact-finding hearing looks at impacts of blockade
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (April 16, 2018) On Saturday April 21, people from across the Midwest will gather in Indianapolis for Gaza Unlocked: Hearing in the Heartland. Modeled after a congressional committee fact-finding hearing, this unique event will bring together Palestinian writers, artists, and scholars to testify about the life and conditions in Gaza to community leaders, elected officials, and the general public. The hearing will take place on April 21st at 1:00 pm at the Central Library, located at 40 E Saint Clair Street in Indianapolis.
The hearing is being organized by the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization that has a long history of working with Palestinians in Gaza, dating back to its relief work following the 1948 War. “Palestinian voices are often left out of the political process,” said Jennifer Bing, Palestine-Israel Program Director at AFSC. “That’s why we are bringing the voices of the people of Gaza and their allies to the public. We need our congressional leaders to see that people in the heartland want an end to the Gaza blockade.”
Witnesses who will be giving testimony at the hearing include: Gaza author and blogger Leila Haddad; Gaza policy analyst Jehad Abusalim; Scholar, writer, and researcher Sara Roy; Indianapolis faith leader and Palestinian from Gaza Shaker Rashid, and Cindy Corrie, Mother of slain activist Rachel Corrie. The hearing will be moderated by Helena Cobban, Quaker journalist, CEO and Founder of Just World Books.
“The timing of this hearing is especially important in light of the intensification of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza due to the blockade,” said policy analyst Jehad Abusalim. “As the situation deteriorates further in Gaza, this hearing comes as part of internationally concerted efforts to address the brutal blockade. It is time to address a decade-long blockade that would leave a population of two million in what the UN described as an ‘unlivable’ region.”
For over 10 years, two million Palestinians in Gaza have lived under an Israeli-imposed blockade that severely limits travel, trade, and livelihood. For the past several weeks, they have been demonstrating at the Israel border as a part of The Great Return March, a non-violent program to call for an end to the Israeli blockade and the right to return to their ancestral lands. They have been met with overwhelming violence by the Israeli military; 33 Palestinians have been killed and thousands more injured.
"As the people of Gaza bravely reach out to the world, there is no more important time for giving them voice here in the U.S.,” said Cindy Corrie, whose daughter Rachel was killed by an Israeli bulldozer while protecting a Palestinian home in 2003.
The hearing will be followed by “To Gaza With Love,” a ticketed dinner and celebration of Palestinian culture, featuring food, music, dance, and poetry that will take place at the Madame Walker Theatre Center.
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The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that promotes lasting peace with justice, as a practical expression of faith in action. Drawing on continuing spiritual insights and working with people of many backgrounds, we nurture the seeds of change and respect for human life that transform social systems.