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Viva Palestina aid convoy hours away from breaking Gaza siege

category international | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Monday January 04, 2010 15:29author by Paddy

Alice Howard in a Press Release has stated that: The Viva Palestina international aid convoy is just hours away from breaking Israel’s three and a half year siege of Gaza. Despite repeated obstructions from the Egyptian government, including its refusal to allow the convoy to land in the Egyptian port of Nuweiba, convoy members hope to be in Gaza tomorrow.

198 convoy vehicles, including ambulances and vans, were loaded on to a ferry in the Syrian port of Latakia on Saturday (2nd January) and have now docked and cleared customs at the Egyptian port of El Arish. Convoy members will fly to El Arish today from Latakia to pick up the vehicles and drive less than one hundred miles to Egypt’s Rafah border crossing with Gaza. Since Israel imposed its near total blockade on Gaza in 2006, people, aid and vehicles have been blocked from entering the Strip. The convoy, jointly organised by Viva Palestina and Palestine Solidarity Campaign, will be taking in aid, including specialised medical equipment, and will also be leaving all its vehicles in Gaza. It had hoped to enter the Strip on 27th December 2009, to mark the first anniversary of the day Israel began its three weeks land, air and sea assault on Gaza, killing 1,400 Palestinians and destroying homes, farms and essential infrastructure. However, the convoy was forced to retrace its route through Jordan and Syria last week, after being refused permission to sail from Aqaba, Jordan to Nuweiba. Kevin Ovenden, convoy organiser, said: ‘Despite all the difficulties, by land, by sea and by air, we are within 24hrs of breaking the siege of Gaza.’ ‘We now have every right to expect unhindered and safe passage into Gaza, but we call on all our friends internationally to stand ready to raise their voices if we face further unjustified delay.’

For further information on the Viva Palestina Gaza aid convoy and updates visit www.vivapalestina.org

Press information from Alice Howard on Tel: 07944 512 469 or via email: alice@vivapalestina.org

Related Link: http://www.vivapalestina.org

Comments (2 of 2)

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author by Paddypublication date Mon Jan 04, 2010 17:40author address author phone

Viva Palestina supporters

The first group has landed in Al Arish and discussions are taking place to resolve outstanding difficulties. Should those discussions not be successful, we ask you to please standby to protest tomorrow afternoon and evening GMT to Egyptian representatives and outside Egyptian interest i.e. Egyptian Embassy and consulate
Alice Howard: Viva Palestina UK - Administration Manager.

author by Paddypublication date Tue Jan 05, 2010 00:04author address author phone

Alice Howard of Viva Palestina writes: My last message to all of you was that the Viva Palestina convoy members have arrived into Al-Arish and were just hours away from breaking the siege of Gaza.

Now, I report to you that in the past hour 157 Viva Palestina convoy members passports were taken away at Al-Arish airport by the Egyptian authorities. The Egyptians also removed the passport's of British MP George Galloway and convoy leader Kevin Ovenden.

All passports were stamped in on entry but also received an exit stamp too. The Egyptian's wanted 157 convoy members to drive tonight to Gaza and forget about the other 400 Viva Palestina volunteers that were yet to fly into Al-Arish tonight.

Egyptian authorities say that the 400 volunteers would not be allowed entry! Convoy members started a sit down riot and refused to move or leave without their fellow convoy Brothers and Sisters!

I am now pleased to say that all passports have been returned back to their rightful owners and exit stamps have been removed - We won that battle! - Now convoy members are scouting for hotels for tonight and will return tomorrow to be reunited with all convoy members, before moving on, to pick up their vehicles and head for their final destination, Gaza!

Well as you can see that the situation is changing by the hour and I am now calling for all of you to gather at Egyptian Embassies, consulates and interests tomorrow. It will be either to shame the Egyptian government for blocking the convoy further or to celebrate Viva Palestina entering Gaza and organising further solidarity.

Viva Palestina convoy will fight all the way to deliver the aid to Gaza!


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