Posted: October 14, 2010 in Israel
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Egypt has give permission for the Viva Palestina aid convoy to sail to the port of  Al- Arish and cross the border into Gaza.  At present the only crossing which Israel does not control is the Rafah crossing which lies between Egypt and Gaza.  This is where the convoy will be looking to pass through into Gaza. 

 After much diplomatic mediation by various nations including Syria they have been given the go ahead.

 There is going to be something like 400 people travelling in this convoy. Organisers of the trip say the attempt is “the biggest and most international aid convoy ever bound for Gaza, with 148 vehicles carrying more than five million dollars worth of medication, school equipment and aid.”

The group comprises of activists from more than 30 countries including New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritania, the US, Morocco and South Africa.

Several politicians and elected officials have joined the convoy as well as almost 30 survivors from the Israeli attack on the Turkish aid ship Mavi Marmara.

Nine pro-Palestinian activists – eight Turks and a dual US-Turkish citizen – were killed when Israeli troops boarded the Mavi Marmara.

Israel has insisted its commandos resorted to force after they were attacked on the deck of the boat, but activists on board say the soldiers opened fire as soon as they landed.

Former MP George Galloway a fervent supporter of the Palestinian cause is reported to be joining them.  We do not know as yet if the Egyptians will allow him to set foot in Egypt.  A recent Canadian attempt to stop George Galloway from entering the country was overturned by a court ruling.  Claiming the decision was based on a political decision, and not  based on national security .  For those of you who are not familiar with George Galloway.   George is a very outspoken and radical Scottish MP who joined the Labour  party as a young teenager and quickly rose through its ranks.    

  In Jan of 2010 George was deported from Egypt with a life time ban.  He was quickly bundled into a plane after he attempted to cross the border from Gaza.

 Back in London, defiant Galloway said: “It is a badge of honour to be deported by a dictatorship.

“I’ve been thrown out of better joints than that.”

This is not the Galloway’s first brush with Egyptian authorities. He spent the night in a cell there in 2006 after an anti-war event.

Also with the Viva Palestina  convoy will be the Arab news agency Al Jazeera’s.  So it will have plenty of news coverage with the outside world.

 Gaza closed off

Since 2007 when Hamas came to power Israel implemented a blockade against the Gaza citizens in what amounted to a form of collective punishment.  While not all Palestinians voted for Hamas, they are all being forced to collectively share in the terrible conditions which this blockade has imposed.

  It must also be reminded that not everyone who lives in Gaza are Moslems, there are many Christians living there whose lives are directly effected by this terrible blockade.  A blockade which many believe is illegal. 

 Since the political disaster on the recently  attack on the Mavi Marmara freedom flotilla restrictions have been relaxed to allow more overland supplies to get through.  However  Israel still maintains its naval blockade.  Building materials for housing however continue to be banned and is in short supply.  Whilst some supplies are getting through it is not certain to what degree it is making a difference.

 If this new convoy gets through unharmed and untouched then it will be followed by many more and the blockade will be over in all but name.  Will Israel be forced to concede another diplomatic disaster?  It is but a matter of wait and see what Israel does in response if anything to stop this convoy.  Any attack on such a large international contingent and in the face of the worlds press and with such outspoken champions will make for an even greater diplomatic disaster.  For unlike an attack in international waters this will be an attack on Egyptian soil.  Such an attack will be an act of war on a neighbouring nation.

  1. Updated report on the convoy states:

    “Gaza convoy “breakthrough”, smashing open the siege of gaza

    Viva Palestina convoy leaders declared their entry into Gaza a “breakthrough”, smashing open the illegal siege that the Palestinian people of Gaza had imposed on them.

    Convoy leaders confirmed that not only medical but other forms of aid have been taken into Gaza on the convoy in almost 150 vehicles which can be used for medical and other peaceful purposes. Total aid is valued at $5 million.

    The convoy has been met with jubilant scenes on the way to and in Gaza City itself.

    Convoy leaders were also keen to correct inaccurate reports that had appeared in the New York Times and elsewhere. These claimed that the convoy had entered Gaza through Israel. These claims are entirely untrue. Viva Palestina has had a firm principle from its inception and that is it will not go through Israel to reach Gaza or hand over to Israeli authorities convoy aid. Entry into Gaza was through Egypt.

    The convoy sailed from Latakia in Syria to the Egyptian port of Al Arish and then drove the 40 kilometres to the Egyptian/Gaza border at Rafah where they entered the Gaza Strip.

    The Egyptian authorities proved very co-operative after lengthy negotiations conducted in Syria. Convoy leaders however regret the decision by the Egyptian authorities to exclude 17 members of the convoy including George Galloway.


    Thursday 21st October 2010

    The Viva Palestina convoy of almost 150 vehicles, 370 people from 30 different countries and $5 million of aid has entered Gaza. ”

    UC MINISTRIES: It should be reminded that the UN has continued to supply Gaza via Jewish checkpoints. While the amount of supplies was heavily controlled and was only recently increase after the attack on the Freedom flotilla. This new route will allow relief agencies to supply the needs without Israeli control. One can only hope that in such a situation no attempts are made to bring in arms and rockets which would be used illegally against innocent Israeli civilians. Nor to jeopardise an open opportunity to help the citizens of Gaza.

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