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MISSION TO PALESTINE: Three Richmonders Plan Trip to Palestine

Early this August, a delegation from Richmond, Virginia will leave for the Israeli occupied regions of Palestine in order to bring humanitarian relief to the families trapped in military conflict zones, to provide media coverage of human rights abuses, and to take direct action for justice and peace in the Middle East.

The delegation will be taking part in the International Solidarity Movement's Freedom Summer. Modeled after the successful Mississippi freedom summer of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, the ISM is inviting thousands of internationals to bear witness to the struggle Palestinians wage daily for human dignity.

Heeding the ISM's call, three Richmond-based activists from Food Not Bombs are planning to join people from all over the world who are converging on Palestine. They are departing on early in August for three weeks to reinforce the work of Palestinians and Israelis against the occupation.

They plan to act as a media collective to provide coverage of the situation and to assist the Palestinians in any way that is deemed safe for them. This will include the use on non-violent direct action tactic to intervene on the behalf of Palestinians. International solidarity activists already in Palestine have been carrying out a number of actions such as riding in ambulances, delivering food to families trapped in their homes by curfews, monitoring checkpoints, and rebuilding areas demolished by the Israeli offensive.

Several Richmond events have been scheduled prior to the delegationís departure date to help create an awareness of both the mission to Palestine and the reasons behind the mission, including a fundraiser dinner on Saturday, July 27th at 7pm at the Pace Center, where all donations from the meal will go towards both supporting the ISM delegation and contributing to Palestinian medical organizations. There will also be a video showing of "Gaza Strip", a documentary made earlier this year, on Wednesday, July 18, also at 7pm at the Pace Center. The Pace Center is located at 700 W. Franklin, on the corner of Pine and Franklin St.

The more support this mission receives, the more successful it will be in witnessing and challenging the Israeli occupation, oppression, and destruction of Palestine and its people. With the departure date less than a month away, the delegation has an enormous amount of work to do, as well as an ambitious fundraising goal of $6,000. This figure covers not only the bare necessities of travel, but will also include money to be donated directly to relief organizations on the ground in Palestine.

Planning meetings for the mission are held regularly. For more information about them or to get involved in any way, please contact Shawn O'Hern at 643-0196, or email generalstrike17@hotmail.com.

If you would like to donate to the effort, please make checks payable to Food Not Bombs (earmarked Palestine Solidarity) and send to:

Food Not Bombs, PO Box 5688, Richmond, VA 23220



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