The activists make it to the town of Al Arish, 50 km from the Gaza border, where they’re greeted by local leaders who promise they’ll supply hundreds of volunteers to show solidarity with the suffering of Gazans. The leaders call for Egypt to revoke its peace treaty with Israel and for former President Husni Mubarak to be prosecuted.
We’ve arrived in Al Arish to a good welcome. But we did have to pass through about 12 checkpoints and the army tried to persuade us not to come. But now the people here are promising to accompany the convoy to Gaza.
The morning of the planned march to the Gaza border starts with much optimism. But things soon turn nasty. A small group of suspected pro-Mubarak agitators accuse the activists of being spies and even Israelis. They say Egyptians should sort their own problems out before they worry about anybody else. Our crew is forced to stop filming, but soon afterwards we are attacked with shovels and forced to beat a hasty retreat.
Eventually the activists make it to the Gaza border but with severely depleted numbers. Most of the Egyptians have been scared off from joining their protest march to the Rafah border crossing. After 5 hours they are allowed through with one bag of cement. They are the first peace delegation to enter Gaza since the Egyptian revolution.
But their breakthrough is only symbolic. It will take a mass mobilization from the Egyptian people themselves to effect real change.