Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein trav­els across Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea, the United States, Britain, Greece, and Australia to witness the reality of disaster capitalism. He discovers how companies such as G4S, Serco, and Halliburton cash in on or­ganized misery in a hidden world of privatized detention centers, militarized private security, aid profiteering, and destructive mining.

Disaster has become big business. Talking to immigrants stuck in limbo in Britain or visiting immigration centers in America, Loewenstein maps the secret networks formed to help cor­porations bleed what profits they can from economic crisis. He debates with Western contractors in Afghanistan, meets the locals in post-earthquake Haiti, and in Greece finds a country at the mercy of vulture profiteers. In Papua New Guinea, he sees a local commu­nity forced to rebel against predatory resource companies and NGOs.

What emerges through Loewenstein’s re­porting is a dark history of multinational corpo­rations that, with the aid of media and political elites, have grown more powerful than national governments. In the twenty-first century, the vulnerable have become the world’s most valu­able commodity. Disaster Capitalism is published by Verso in 2015 and in paperback in January 2017.

Profits_of_doom_cover_350Vulture capitalism has seen the corporation become more powerful than the state, and yet its work is often done by stealth, supported by political and media elites. The result is privatised wars and outsourced detention centres, mining companies pillaging precious land in developing countries and struggling nations invaded by NGOs and the corporate dollar. Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein travels to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea and across Australia to witness the reality of this largely hidden world of privatised detention centres, outsourced aid, destructive resource wars and militarized private security. Who is involved and why? Can it be stopped? What are the alternatives in a globalised world? Profits of Doom, published in 2013 and released in an updated edition in 2014, challenges the fundamentals of our unsustainable way of life and the money-making imperatives driving it. It is released in an updated edition in 2014.
forgodssakecover Four Australian thinkers come together to ask and answer the big questions, such as: What is the nature of the universe? Doesn't religion cause most of the conflict in the world? And Where do we find hope?   We are introduced to different belief systems – Judaism, Christianity, Islam – and to the argument that atheism, like organised religion, has its own compelling logic. And we gain insight into the life events that led each author to their current position.   Jane Caro flirted briefly with spiritual belief, inspired by 19th century literary heroines such as Elizabeth Gaskell and the Bronte sisters. Antony Loewenstein is proudly culturally, yet unconventionally, Jewish. Simon Smart is firmly and resolutely a Christian, but one who has had some of his most profound spiritual moments while surfing. Rachel Woodlock grew up in the alternative embrace of Baha'i belief but became entranced by its older parent religion, Islam.   Provocative, informative and passionately argued, For God's Sakepublished in 2013, encourages us to accept religious differences, but to also challenge more vigorously the beliefs that create discord.  
After Zionism, published in 2012 and 2013 with co-editor Ahmed Moor, brings together some of the world s leading thinkers on the Middle East question to dissect the century-long conflict between Zionism and the Palestinians, and to explore possible forms of a one-state solution. Time has run out for the two-state solution because of the unending and permanent Jewish colonization of Palestinian land. Although deep mistrust exists on both sides of the conflict, growing numbers of Palestinians and Israelis, Jews and Arabs are working together to forge a different, unified future. Progressive and realist ideas are at last gaining a foothold in the discourse, while those influenced by the colonial era have been discredited or abandoned. Whatever the political solution may be, Palestinian and Israeli lives are intertwined, enmeshed, irrevocably. This daring and timely collection includes essays by Omar Barghouti, Jonathan Cook, Joseph Dana, Jeremiah Haber, Jeff Halper, Ghada Karmi, Antony Loewenstein, Saree Makdisi, John Mearsheimer, Ahmed Moor, Ilan Pappe, Sara Roy and Phil Weiss.
The 2008 financial crisis opened the door for a bold, progressive social movement. But despite widespread revulsion at economic inequity and political opportunism, after the crash very little has changed. Has the Left failed? What agenda should progressives pursue? And what alternatives do they dare to imagine? Left Turn, published by Melbourne University Press in 2012 and co-edited with Jeff Sparrow, is aimed at the many Australians disillusioned with the political process. It includes passionate and challenging contributions by a diverse range of writers, thinkers and politicians, from Larissa Berendht and Christos Tsiolkas to Guy Rundle and Lee Rhiannon. These essays offer perspectives largely excluded from the mainstream. They offer possibilities for resistance and for a renewed struggle for change.
The Blogging Revolution, released by Melbourne University Press in 2008, is a colourful and revelatory account of bloggers around the globe why live and write under repressive regimes - many of them risking their lives in doing so. Antony Loewenstein's travels take him to private parties in Iran and Egypt, internet cafes in Saudi Arabia and Damascus, to the homes of Cuban dissidents and into newspaper offices in Beijing, where he discovers the ways in which the internet is threatening the ruld of governments. Through first-hand investigations, he reveals the complicity of Western multinationals in assisting the restriction of information in these countries and how bloggers are leading the charge for change. The blogging revolution is a superb examination about the nature of repression in the twenty-first century and the power of brave individuals to overcome it. It was released in an updated edition in 2011, post the Arab revolutions, and an updated Indian print version in 2011.
The best-selling book on the Israel/Palestine conflict, My Israel Question - on Jewish identity, the Zionist lobby, reporting from Palestine and future Middle East directions - was released by Melbourne University Press in 2006. A new, updated edition was released in 2007 (and reprinted again in 2008). The book was short-listed for the 2007 NSW Premier's Literary Award. Another fully updated, third edition was published in 2009. It was released in all e-book formats in 2011. An updated and translated edition was published in Arabic in 2012.

ABC Radio covers the Gaza Freedom March and the crisis over Gaza

The following story appears today on ABC Radio’s AM:

TONY EASTLEY: More than 1300 international peace activists from 40 countries, including Australia are in Egypt this week. The self-styled “freedom marchers”, many of whom are Jewish, include prominent authors, lawyers and journalists.

They had hoped to cross the border to Gaza for a planned protest today against Israel and its economic blockade of the area, but they too have fallen victim to the blockade with Egyptian authorities effectively banning most of them from even leaving Cairo.

Middle East correspondent Anne Barker reports.

(sound of protesters chanting)

ANNE BARKER: It was meant to be a high-profile, international protest in Gaza, against Israel and its continuing blockade of the tiny strip.

(sound of protesters)

Instead it’s become as much a protest against Egypt.

When peace activists from all over the world arrived in Cairo, the Egyptian Government all but banned them from travelling even to the Egyptian side of the Gaza border.

Two days ago Egyptian police detained one group of protesters who’d managed to cross the Sinai Desert, and effectively placed them under house arrest, on the grounds the march was illegal, and the situation in Gaza was too sensitive.

Another group, who’d sought the support of the American embassy, says they too were detained and harassed.

So in recent days the protesters in Cairo have directed as much of their anger at Egypt, for its apparent complicity with the Israeli blockade.

(sound of protesters)

ANNE BARKER: Many of the 1300 peace marchers staged a sit-in outside the United Nations building to enlist the UN’s support against Egypt.

One Australian taking part is Jewish author and journalist, Antony Loewenstein.

ANTONY LOEWENSTEIN: Not getting into Gaza doesn’t really negate the importance of the trip itself. What we’re trying to do, whether we get into Gaza or whether we simply stay in Egypt, is to make a very strong statement about the suffering of the people in Gaza itself.

And we should also, it’s important for people to remember that when there was a war there a year ago, all the buildings that were destroyed, the infrastructure, the sewerage plant; none of that has been rebuilt. And until that changes, there is legitimate protest to be made.

ANNE BARKER: But now, after the last minute intervention of President Hosni Mubarak’s wife, Egypt has agreed to let two busloads of protesters through the border at Rafah to take part in today’s protest in Gaza.

One of them is Australian peace activist Donna Mulhearn.

DONNA MULHEARN: It’ll be around 50,000 people from Gaza are ready to be marching along with those internationals who are able to get through. So we hope that that will draw some attention.

ANNE BARKER: A separate convoy of humanitarian workers carrying medical aid for Gaza is also stranded in Jordan, because Egypt has banned them from travelling to Gaza via the Red Sea.

It’s demanding they go all the way back through Jordan and Syria, and take a Mediterranean route closer to the Gaza border.

In the end though, no amount of protests or pressure is likely to bring an end to the Israeli blockade- which bans the movement of people from Gaza and the import of all but the most essential supplies.

The Israeli Government imposed the blockade two years ago after Hamas came to power and says it’s meant to target the Islamist regime, and not Gaza’s civilian population.

This is Anne Barker in Jerusalem for AM.

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How the liberation of Palestine will happen (and pain is part of the process)

The possibly impending release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit could lead to the easing of the border, says Egypt (maybe.) It’s hard to see though how the building of the wall on the Egyptian/Gaza border can help the chances of real peace.

Richard Falk, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, is often critical of the Jewish state. He doesn’t mince his words:

The United Nations independent expert on Palestinian rights has again called for a threat of economic sanctions against Israel to force it to lift its blockade of Gaza, which is preventing the return to a normal life for 1.5 million residents after the devastating Israeli offensive a year ago.

“Obviously Israel does not respond to language of diplomacy, which has encouraged the lifting of the blockade and so what I am suggesting is that it has to be reinforced by a threat of adverse economic consequences for Israel,” Richard Falk, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, told UN Radio.”

Israeli human rights Gisha understands this point of view. Their latest Gaza Gateway entry reminds us that the siege on Gaza is likely to continue:

As news organizations report each detail of a possible prisoner release deal between Israel and Hamas, a related subject is receiving less attention: whether the release of the captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, would lead to an opening of Gaza’s crossings, closed to all but the bare minimum passage of people and goods. Writing in Haaretz, Akiva Eldar has suggested that one would not necessarily follow the other:

“It has been decided that the Shalit deal will not bring about a change in Israel’s policy regarding the blockade of Gaza and preventing the passage of people and goods between Gaza and the West Bank, except for humanitarian cases and essential goods”.

Really? It won’t?

Israel has justified its 3.5 year closure of Rafah Crossing and 2.5 year closure of Gaza’s other crossings as “sanctions” designed to pressure the Hamas regime, especially to release Shalit. While Gisha and other human rights groups have criticized the closure as unlawful collective punishment – irrespective of its “goals” – Israeli officials  have insisted that closing Gaza’s crossings nearly hermetically is not only permissible but is also effective in achieving political objectives. The position that prevailed in an August 24, 2006 internal discussion among security officials regarding Rafah Crossing, reproduced in Gisha’s position paper, Disengaged Occupiers was to:

“Oppose opening the crossing even for a few hours, so long as the issue of the captured soldier remains unchanged”.

The “logic” of the policy was to make life so difficult in the Gaza Strip, that the 1.5 million civilians trapped in Gaza would somehow “overthrow” Hamas or at least – exert pressure for the Hamas regime to acquiesce to Israeli demands.

True, the Israeli public never quite believed the effectiveness of that goal: a 2008 survey commissioned by Gisha and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel found that 78% of Jewish Israelis believed it was unlikely that the closure would lead to regime change in Gaza, and 83% believed that Hamas had been strengthened since the closure was tightened in June 2007. A newly released film by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem uses animation to show just how fanciful the idea that the suffering of 1.5 million people could somehow be “effective” in putting the squeeze on Hamas. But Israeli policy-makers insist that Gaza residents could be “taught a lesson” through the closure. Can they really?

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Yes, the war on terror is doing wonderfully well in Yemen

It’s hard not to despair sometimes at the pathetic level of political debate in the US. It’s “anti-Semitic” to simply ask why the “undies” bomber from Yemen hated the West?

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The opinion of Haidar Eid and Omar Barghouti on the Gaza Freedom March

The following statement was released today by two leading Palestinian intellectuals and activists:

Dear Gaza Freedom March organizers and participants,

After a lot of hesitation and deliberation, we are writing to call on you to reject the “deal” reached with the Egyptian leadership (through Mrs. Mubarak). This deal is bad for us and, we deeply feel, terrible for the solidarity movement.

We initially felt that if representatives of all forty some countries can go to Gaza and lead a symbolic march along Palestinians it would convey the message to the world public opinion, our main target. However, after listening to the Egyptian Foreign Minister’s press conference last night on Aljazeera and the way he described the deal in details, we are unambiguous in perceiving this compromise as too heavy, too divisive and too destructive to our future work and networking with various solidarity movements around the world.

Mr. Abu Al-Gheit described the 100 that they graciously accepted to allow to enter Gaza as those from organizations which Egypt considers “good and sincere in standing in solidarity with Gaza the same way as we [the ergime] do.” He described the rest as “from organizations that are only interested in subversion and acting against Egyptian interests, to sow havoc on the streets of Egypt, not to stand in solidarity with the Palestinians.”  He also said that the Egyptian public was wise enough to see that those were hooligans and stayed away from them. Other than the obvious divisiveness that agreeing to this deal would cause, what’s wrong with this picture:

1) The Egyptian regime in this press conference painted a picture of the great majority of the internationals participating in the GFM as hooligans and agents provocateurs, not real solidarity groups. This is a grave insult to all of us, to all our partners and to the entire GFM, as it depicts us all as partnering with “fanatic,” “destructive” forces, not forces for ending the siege and for the rule of law;

2) The Egyptian leadership will use our agreement on this to say that their position and “way of solidarity with Gaza” was right all along, and those that saw the light and agreed with this wise way were allowed in.

3) Arab and international public pressure on the Egyptian government are rising dramatically due to the actions that you all have engages in and the excellent media messages that you have sent. The Egyptian government wants to use this deal to release pressure and re-paint itself as concerned about Palestinians in Gaza. This is all to deflect attention from the Steel Wall they are building and the fresh calls for taking the government to task over its complicity in the Israeli criminal siege.

Our longer term interests as Palestinians is not to allow the regime to get off the hook this easily. Either they allow all 1400 participants into Gaza (if they are “hooligans” best to get rid of them in Egypt and “ship” them to Gaza, right?) or we strongly urge you to reject the deal out of hand as too little, too late and too ill-conceived.

We cannot possibly decide on this matter, as ultimately this is up to ALL of you. If a CLEAR majority among you feel that you want to go through with the deal, we shall always welcome you in Gaza and deeply appreciate your solidarity. But we feel your solidarity without coming to Gaza, exposing the Egyptian siege against you and us, may bear more fruit for us and towards ending the siege, at least from the Egyptian side.

We salute you all and thank you from our hearts for the indescribable work you have all done for Gaza!

Respectfully,

Haidar Eid, Gaza
Omar Barghouti, Jerusalem

Here’s a comment released by Mohammed Omer who won the Martha Gellhorn Prize last year for his reporting from Gaza. It was sent to a journalist colleague of mine:

For us a population of 1.6 million being imprisoned and starved the gratitude we express to you, the Gaza freedom marchers, is immense. You who have come to Egypt have shown the world that what we are living through is a inhumane injustice and those who stop your progress join with the tyrants of this world who are prepared to starve a population of women, children and elderly people because of a political difference of opinion..

Thank you all from the depth of our hearts!

In my people’s name,

Mohammed Omer – Gaza

“The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm but because of those who look at it without doing anything.” Albert Einstein

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Press Release: Gaza Freedom March Steering Committee

This was just released:

Press Release
Gaza-Gaza Freedom March Steering Committee
Gaza 30.12.2009
Over the past week we, representatives of various civil society sectors in Gaza, have been humbled by the sacrifices that you, 1400 people, have made in order to come and support us in breaking the siege.
Despite our grave disappointment that we can not yet meet you all that we are still separated by this medieval siege we feel that your arrival in Cairo has already borne fruits. Your insistence to break the siege in order to be in solidarity with us has inspired many and shamed many others. Thanks to your presence with us, a network to break the siege and free Palestine has been established.
We support any decisions taken by the Gaza Freedom March Coordination Committee about the entry of just 100 of 1400 delegates into Gaza instead of all the delegates presently in Cairo. Obviously it is, as all previous decisions, a majority decision. We, at the Gaza- GFM Steering committee have reiterated our position, namely, that it is up to The Gaza Freedom March Coordination Committee in Cairo to decide. We initially felt that if representatives of all forty some countries can go to Gaza and join a march along Palestinians it would convey a very strong message to the world public opinion. Had they decided to go through with the Egyptian offer, we would have welcomed them in Gaza and deeply appreciated their solidarity.
The decision to send 100 delegates, however, seemed too divisive for the growing solidarity campaign with the Palestinian people. The unity of the global solidarity campaign is of utmost importance for us, the besieged Palestinians of Gaza. We have repeatedly argued that the march itself is not supposed to be only a symbolic gesture, but rather a part of a series of events which will lead to the end of the siege, once and for all. We want to intensify and continue building the solidarity campaign, not divide it.
We salute the GFM delegates and thank them for the tremendous amount of work they have been doing and whatever decision they came up with.
Gaza-GFM Steering Committee
Gaza
30.12.2009

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A handy definition of Israel’s land addiction

The real meaning of Israel’s “settlement freeze”:

In an unusual step, the state announced on Tuesday its plan to promote planning and construction in the northern West Bank settlement of Kiryat Netafim, Army Radio reported Wednesday.

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Reporting is a dangerous gig

Reporters Without Borders provides the brutal statistics of journalism from 2009:

76 journalists killed (60 in 2008)
33 journalists kidnapped
573 journalists arrested
1456 physically assaulted
570 media censored
157 journalists fled their countries
1 blogger died in prison
151 bloggers and cyber-dissidents arrested
61 physically assaulted
60 countries affected by online censorship

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Meanwhile, away from Cairo, the region has its own pace

I’m flat-out here in Cairo working on multiple projects related to the Gaza Freedom March.

But some interesting articles and reports on the Middle East are worth sharing:

1 Year after Gaza Massacre: Over 500 Academics and Cultural Workers Call for Boycott.

– On Sunday, 20 December 2009, Al Dameer Association for Human Rights published a position paper on “Health and Environmental Problems in the Gaza Strip that Lead to an Increase in the Number of Babies Born with Birth Defects, Abortion, and Cancer Diseases Due to the IOF Use to Radioactive and Toxic Materials during its Latest Offensive on the Strip”.

Rami Khouri’s compelling reasons why the Gaza onslaught has been so devastating for Israel.

– A young Zionist who made aliyah writes in the Jerusalem Post: “Yes, I am a Jew. Yes, Zionism is cool. Yes, I want to be an IDF soldier.”

– Twitter is being accused of silencing Gaza tribute.

– Joe Sacco’s new book on Palestine is praised by Patrick Cockburn in the New York Times and extracted on Mondoweiss.

Report: Settlers in uproar over withdrawal of Belgian-French owned bank from West Bank lending operations.

– Rights campaigners were last night celebrating the end of “Apartheid Road” after Israel’s supreme court ordered the military to open up a major highway that cuts through the West Bank to Palestinians, rather than reserving it exclusively for Israelis.

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Gaza Freedom March decides not to allow Egypt to divide and conquer

The latest on our Gaza Freedom March, via al-Jazeera, conveys the high drama currently taking place in Egypt and beyond. Solidarity with the people of Gaza should always be the central concern:

Members of an international group gathered in Cairo to protest against the siege of Gaza have rejected an Egyptian offer to allow 100 of them entry into the Palestinian territory.

Organisers of the Gaza Freedom March (GFM), which is comprised of 1,300 people from 42 different countries, declined the offer on Wednesday, saying “we refuse to whitewash the siege of Gaza”.

Egyptian authorities had initially said the group would not be allowed to cross the border, citing security reasons and a “sensitive situation”.

The activists were hoping to march into Gaza on the anniversary of Israel’s 22-day offensive on the territory as a sign of solidarity with its people, carrying with them aid and supplies.

Egypt’s Rafah border crossing point is the only entrance point into the Gaza Strip not controlled by Israel.

However, both it and the Israeli-controlled border points have largely remained sealed since 2007, when Palestinian faction Hamas took full control of the territory after brutal infighting with rivals Fatah.

Cairo concession

March organisers had called the Egyptian government’s concession a “partial victory” but said the offer was not sufficient.

Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the Electronic Intifada and a participant in the march, posted to his blog, saying that “it’s not enough and the pressure and protests should be kept up”.

“However, getting 100 or 1,300 into Gaza does not end the siege by itself. This is not about getting some or even all into Gaza, its building global support and pressure to end the siege of Gaza,” he said.

Roqayah Chamseddine, a US student attending the march, told Al Jazeera: “Our mission is not to be divided and sending only 100 of over 1,300 would be doing just that.

“For anyone to claim that Egypt was doing us a favour by offering to allow 100 GFM members to go is asinine and baseless.

“Those borders must be opened and as long as Egypt continues to seemingly aid Israel in subjugating the people of Palestine we will also continue to resist an protest.”

Gaza Freedom March members have held multiple small protests in Cairo, as well as on Tuesday joining Egyptian activists to demonstrate against a one-day visit by Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister.

Earlier on Tuesday, around 40 US citizens marching to their embassy in the Egyptian capital were met along the way by riot police, who corralled them into groups of 10 before allowing them access, participants said.

On Sunday and Monday, about 80 people held a sit-in oustide the French embassy to try to rally international support for the movement.

Others, such as US citizen Hedy Epstein, an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor, have gone on hunger strike to protest against Egypt’s refusal to allow the march to proceed.

Viva Palestina

A separate aid convoy, which had been trying to reach Gaza by way of Jordan’s Red Sea port of Aqaba, has meanwhile agreed to travel via Syria instead.

The Viva Palestina convoy, carrying 210 lorries full of humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza, crossed into Syria on Tuesday after spending five days in Jordan, negotiating with the Egyptian consul there.

It is now expected to set sail from the Syrian port of Latakia to the Egyptian port of El Arish on the Mediterranean, and then cross through Rafah into Gaza from there.

A statement from the Egypt’s ministry of information said that George Galloway, the British member of parliament leading the convoy, had been told by November 10 that the group had to travel through El Arish, even though it is not the most direct route.

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The ongoing trauma in Gaza

In a short film by Medical Aid for Palestinians, Wafa al-Radia tells how she and her sister were attacked by an Israeli drone last year during the Gaza conflict.

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New York Times recognises the Gaza Freedom March

In a sign of its significance, the New York Times finally covers the Gaza Freedom March and the political machinations behind the scenes. Such information arriving in the pages of the Times is important, a signal that the American political elite has to finally acknowledge the humanitarian disaster in Gaza and Palestine as a whole:

More than 1,000 people from around the world were gathered here on Tuesday for a solidarity march into Gaza despite Egypt’s insistence that the Gaza border crossing that it controls would remain closed to the vast majority of them.

The protest, the Gaza Freedom March, was planned for Thursday and intended to mark a year since Israel’s three-week military assault on the territory. On Tuesday, hundreds of the frustrated activists gathered to press their case on the front steps of the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate here, holding “Free Gaza” signs and chanting, “Let us go.” Some declared a hunger strike.

About 100 French citizens staged a sit-in in front of the French Embassy, and some Americans pleaded for help at the United States Consulate.

The Egyptian government agreed to let 100 activists into Gaza on Wednesday, according to one of the organizers of the march.

The crossing, at Rafah, Egypt, has been closed for most purposes since the summer of 2007, when the militant group Hamasseized control of Gaza from the rival Western-backed forces of Fatah. Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza, and the Egyptian government, citing its own security needs, closed the crossing, drawing criticism from within Egypt and across the Arab world.

International criticism of Israel spiked after the Gaza assault, which left as many as 1,400 Palestinians dead, including hundreds of civilians. Thirteen Israelis were killed. While both sides were accused of war crimes, most of the outrage was focused on Israel because of its overwhelming military strength and the enormous differences in the death tolls.

International activists have been challenging Israel’s control of Gaza’s waters, sending in boats to bring in supplies and convey support; Israel has blocked many.

Egypt repeatedly refused to open its border ahead of the planned march, citing what its officials said were “security reasons,” but participants in the march flew to Cairo anyway, hoping the government would relent.

“We have not come to Egypt to create trouble or cause conflict,” organizers of the march wrote in an open letter to Egypt’s president, Hosni Mubarak. “We have come because we believe that all people — including the Palestinians of Gaza — should have access to the resources they need to live in dignity.”

The letter said the group, which is urging Israel to lift its blockade, raised tens of thousands of dollars for medical aid, school supplies and clothing to take to Gaza.

The Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, expressed frustration at the activists who came to Cairo despite the warning that the border was closed.

“Those who tried to conspire against us, and they are more than a thousand, we will leave them in the street,” he said.

One protester, Hedy Epstein, 85, a Holocaust survivor, arrived in Egypt from the United States on Saturday. She said she started a hunger strike on Monday.

“My message is for the world governments to wake up and treat Israel like they treat any other country and not to be afraid to reprimand and criticize Israel for its violent policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians,” Ms. Epstein said. “I brought a suitcase full of things, pencils, pens, crayons, writing paper to take to children in Gaza — I can’t take that back home.”

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A sign of the times over the Middle East

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