Gaza Freedom March delayed by Egypt
by MainStreet, Sat Dec 26, 2009 at 03:57:12 AM EST
On December 6 (not 5 as indicated above), a large convoy that would eventually swell to 144 vehicles and 416 peace activists left London as part of the third Viva Palestina effort to break the siege of Gaza. Viva Palestina is a British organization started by the British MP, George Galloway, and on this expedition, over 1,300 activists from 42 countries including the United States (23 activists are en route from San Francisco alone) are expected to meet up at the Rafah crossing and enter Gaza on December 27 to mark the anniversary of Israel's massacre of over 1,400 Palestinians including more than 300 children a year ago.
On its way overland through Europe, then Turkey and Syria, the convoy reached Aqaba, Jordan on the Red Sea where it was stalled by the Egyptian authorities. Egypt first contended that the convoy would not be permitted to enter Gaza, then indicated that it could only enter Egypt through El-Arish on the Meditteranian, which would necessitate a voyage around the Sinai Pennisula through the Suez Canal.
This latest email from Alice Howard of Viva Palestina updates the current situation:
Egypt blamed for Gaza convoy delay
British politician George Galloway has criticised Egypt for denying a humanitarian aid convoy permission to enter the Gaza Strip.
The Viva Palestina aid convoy, containing some 210 vehicles and 500 people, is currently stranded in Jordan with Cairo refusing to allow it passage to Gaza through the Red Sea port of Nuweiba.
The lorries are laden with European, Turkish and Arab aid - both food and medical supplies.
"It's a strange Christmas for us. We are stuck ... hundreds of tonnes of aid which is desperately needed in Gaza," Galloway said in an interview with Press TV on Friday.
"We are very sad not yet angry, but we will get angry if the days go by".
But Hossam Zaki, an Egyptian port official, insisted that there would be "no entry from Nuweiba", saying "entry can only be through El-Arish".
El-Arish is a port on Egypt's Mediterreanean coast, while Nuweiba is on the Red Sea.
According to the latest UN report on the situation in Gaza, the ongoing Israeli blockade has triggered a "protracted human dignity crisis" with negative humanitarian consequences.
"At the heart of this crisis is the degradation in the living conditions of the population, caused by the erosion of livelihoods and the gradual decline in the state of infrastructure, and the quality of vital services in the areas of health, water and sanitation, and education," adds the report.
This video makes clear Egypt's insincerity and intent to obstruct this humanitarian aid getting into Gaza.
Viva Palestina Convoy Blocked from Entering Egypt
It is notable that the American press has ignored this story and is continuing to maintain a posture of censoring news which places Israel in a bad light and Gaza is one source. On Gaza per se, only news in which Hamas is depicted as a Islamic terrorist group seems to get aired. Although the convoy originated in Britain, the BBC is also not covering the event.