The Institute is actively supporting the Convoy for Peace: Sderot to Gaza. The project was developed in the follow-up of the Third Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace, held at Unesco headquarters in Paris, from 15 to 17 December 2008, where Rabbi Soetendorp participated. A committee of congress participants, led by the Hommes de Parole Foundation is currently on the ground in Israel. Rabbi Soetendorp played a leading role in developing the plan and spreading the idea, but was unable to join the group due to his already fixed speaking obligations in Bad Honnef, Edinburgh, and Davos.

Here is what Alain Michel, Secretary General of the Hommes de Parole Foundation has reported about the progress achieved so far:

"The First Convoy for Peace organised by the Hommes de Parole Foundation with the support of the World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace reached Gaza on Monday, 19 January at 4 p.m.

The convoy, composed of 10 semi-trailer trucks, brought in 220 tons of staple foods (flour, sugar, rice) and goods specifically for children. The entire load was stored in the Palestinian Red Crescent warehouse.
Alain Michel and a member of the Hommes de Parole Foundation will be on site at Gaza to participate in the distribution of the goods direct to the families as of Wednesday, 21 January and, with the Foundation’s partners, to identify the most pressing needs.

This Convoy for Peace was the first civilian convoy to obtain authorisation to enter Gaza since the beginning of the conflict. To obtain authorisations required several contacts with the Army and the various ministries, and major logistical organisation. For security reasons, since the goods were coming from Ramallah, the trucks had to be loaded and unloaded three times.
Thanks to careful preliminary preparation and foresight, it only took three days, after the funds were received, to carry out the whole operation, i.e. negotiations and purchase of 220 tons of goods, loading the trucks, transferring the goods, formalities, transportation and unloading the goods at Gaza.

If we have the sufficient funding, Hommes de Parole will organise the second Convoy for Peace before the end of January.
It will bring emergency goods that have been identified together with our partners.

In order to meet the most pressing specific needs, the Hommes de Parole Foundation intends to establish a permanent “road bridge” between Israel and the Gaza Strip. The “road bridge” will be open to the NGOs which work on site and which, as in all post-war situations, are not able to transport all the goods the need on their own.

The Foundation’s Gaza office will, as usual, be a place for people to meet, share experiences, identify needs and coordinate.

Information collected by the local and international NGOs concerning needs for human resources, materials, and merchandise as well as proposals for making donations and offering assistance will be published on a dedicated Internet site.

The Convoy travelling on 19 January brought in :
-160 tons of flour
-20 tons of sugar
-20 tons of rice
-5 tons of warm clothes for children, blankets, sanitation and personal care products.

Total cost of the convoy: US $206,000 dollars

Price per truck: between US $18,000 and 104,000 depending on the price of the goods being transported (food, children’s clothes, person care and sanitation items, household equipment, school supplies, etc.), i.e. a truckload of 20 tons of flour costs US$18,000, while a truckload of 20 tons of children’s food (maternal milk, infant food, etc.) costs US $104,000."

To find out more, please visit the Website of the World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace

If you would like to support this initiative, please make a donation to the Institute with the reference "Convoy for Peace"

The Soetendorp Institute


Jacob Soetendorp Institute for Human Values
Van Wijngaerdenstraat 21
2596 TW The Hague
The Netherlands