CAIRO, Egypt — Pulitzer-prize winning author Alice Walker, who wrote "The Color Purple," is traveling to Gaza along with other female activists to highlight the devastation of the Israeli offensive on Gaza's residents.
"I feel that what is happening in the Middle East is very important because the situation is so volatile," said Walker, speaking by telephone Saturday from the Rafah border crossing as her group waited to travel into Gaza. "I love people, and I love children and I feel that the Palestinian child is just as precious as the African-American child, as the Jewish child."
Walker is part of a group of about 60 women going to Gaza to deliver aid and meet with NGOs and residents. The trip, organized by the U.S. anti-war group Code Pink, is intended to push both Israel and Egypt to open the borders into Gaza, said Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink who helped organize the trip.
The trip comes as efforts to reach a long-term cease-fire between Israel and the militant group Hamas have hit a roadblock. An Israeli offensive on Gaza, intended to stop rocket fire into southern Israel, ended Jan. 18 with separate cease-fires declared by both Israel and Hamas.
Members of the group intend to stay in Gaza until March 11, Benjamin said. During their trip, timed to coincide with International Women's Day on March 8, they will also deliver baskets filled with personal items such as shampoo for women in Gaza.
Walker, who was making her first trip to Gaza, said it was important for Americans who give so much military aid to Israel to understand how their money was being used.
"It's very important that they understand what is happening, and that we hold our own administration accountable," she said.