Gaza aid convoy awaits Egypt nod By Lawrence Smallman

26 December, 2009 — Al Jazeera

viva-pal261209.jpgAn aid convoy that has travelled over 3500km to deliver vital medical and food supplies to the Gaza Strip is currently stranded because of Egypt’s refusal to grant it easy passage.

The Viva Palestina convoy, made up of almost 250 lorries, remained in the Jordanian port of Aqaba on Saturday, having waited over 48 hours to board ferries for the Egyptian Red Sea port of Nuweiba.

But Egypt has so far insisted that the aid be delivered through its Mediterranean port of El-Arish, a much longer journey that would require the convoy to go around the Sinai peninsula and through the Suez Canal.

George Galloway, a British politician leading the convoy, on Saturday appealed to Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, to allow the lorries through before medical and food supplies were ruined by the heat.

“Please President Mubarak – let us resolve this matter. We can only sail through Nuweiba. We are only four hours away from Gaza,” Galloway told Al Jazeera.

“We have this aid, and the people of Gaza need it on the anniversary on the 27th December – a year after Israel’s 22-day bombardment of the beseiged Palestinian territory.

“All fingers should be pointing at Israel, not getting confused and pointing at Egypt”, Galloway said.

‘Infiltration worry’

But Maged Botros, a member of Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party, told Al Jazeera that the government in Cairo has every right to specify the port by which Viva Palestina enters its territory.

“We are talking about 250 trucks passing along this critical territory [the Israeli-Egyptian border] – it is technically so difficult to allow.

“There are good reasons not to allow them through Nuweiba … these trucks might create a big infiltration problem for Egyptian security forces”, he said.

But convoy members told Al Jazeera that travelling through the Suez was not a viable option, as passengers are not allowed to go with cargo ships and that the port of El-Arish is too shallow to take the size of ship needed to transport the aid.

Anniversary deadline

Zuber Hatia, who has driven thousands of kilometres from the British city of Portsmouth, said there was a symbolic reason why Viva Palestina cannot make the extra long journey to El-Arish.

“We are only a four hour ferry ride and a four hour drive from Gaza – we have to be there by 11:35am on 27th December – the first anniversary of Israel’s war on Gaza”, Hatia said.

“So though we have all the cargo manifests, we have to just sit, wait and hope. Unfortunately, the Egyptians I have spoken to say this is a ‘political aid convoy’ rather than a humanitarian aid convoy – and that makes all the difference,” Hatia said.

“And though the Jordanians are being very kind to us while we wait, the fact is our trucks are impounded in a car park 30km from the port with tonnes of medicines spoiling in this Middle Eastern heat.

“Please Mubarak, let our people go!”, Hatia said.

Aid lorries with perishable goods are currently idling near the Jordanian port of Aqaba
Alice Howard
Viva Palestina UK – Administration Manager
Tel: 07944 512 469

Humanitarian Aid convoy Stranded In Jordan

26 December, 2009

Well folks, as you awake today from your Christmas hangover, over 500 people from 20 countries, in 250 vehicles loaded with Humanitarian Aid, are left stranded in Aqaba, Jordan, having been refused permission to enter Egypt. From Ireland, 10 volunteers in 2 ambulances, a van, and a truck loaded with Humanitarian Aid are part of this convoy. The convoy is organised by “Viva Palestina”, a charity founded by George Galloway, MP.

The Egyptian Government have placed 3 conditions on the convoy if it wants to enter Egypt.

1. We hand all our vehicles and aid over to UNRA.

2. We drive 500 miles back to Syria, and take a 24 hour ferry through the Suez Canal.

3. We have to ask Israel for permission to cross from Egypt to Gaza.

All 3 conditions have been flatly rejected by everyone on the convoy, as we want to cross into Gaza and hand our aid over to the Palestinians ourselves.

Would you phone Canada to ask permission to enter the US? Would you ask France for permission to go to Germany? For the 1st time, Egypt have now openly admitted that they are under control of Israel/US.

This has been the lead story on Al Jazeera for the past 24 hours, and there are media teams from all over the Arab world here in Aqaba following this story. Needless to say, everyone watching is totally outraged by Egypt’s complicity with Israel/US in denying this convoy of aid to reach Gaza. Needless to say, the western media have so far refused to cover this story.

Yesterday, Christmas Day, I dressed up as Santa to lighten the mood, and everyones sprirts lifted.
Al Jazeera interviewed Santa, who explained that the children in Gaza were the only ones in the whole world who didn’t recieve any presents. Santa explained that while flying through the air on his sleigh with the reindeers, he was stopped and refused entry. Santa was upset as this was the only place in the world he could not visit.

Tomorrow marks the 1st anniversary of the start of the 22 day massacre of over 1,400 people. In solidarity, we are all going to embark on a fast. We will all fast for as long as it takes for us to get into Gaza with our aid.
We are calling on people all over the world to fast with us, and with the Palestinians, who fast every day due to the illegal siege imposed upon them by Israel/US/Egypt.

It’s time to take a stand and say “Enough Is Enough”. This siege has got to stop, for the sake of humanity, and our aid must be allowed to reach the stricken people in Gaza.

I am calling on you to contact the Egyptian Embassy and demand that we be allowed to enter Gaza, and deliver our aid.

The contact details for the Egyptian Embassy in Dublin are: +353-1-6606718 / +353-1-6606566 /

The contact details for the Egyptian Embassy in London are: 0044-20-7499-3304 /

Please contact them, and express your outrage at their refusal to allow Humanitarian Aid into Gaza, and to let them know that you will never travel to Egypt again, as long as they are the lap dogs for Israel/US.

Please forward this message on to everyone you know, and ask them to do the same. Plus, please reply and leave a message of support for everyone who is stranded here in Aqaba, and for the Palestinians who need our support now, more than ever.

If you are a member of Facebook, please join the following “Ireland To Gaza” group for all the latest updates on our progress:

John Hurson

Stranded in Aqaba, Jordan


26 December, 2009 — Viva Palestina

Dear friends and comrades,
As most of you know, the Viva Palestina humanitarian aid convoy has been forcibly trapped in Aqaba, Jordan as the Egyptian authorities have denied them entry. Convoy members are in high spirits and have requested that we contact our embassies and local MPs to contact the Egyptian authorities and grant them safe passage through Egypt to Gaza.


[Your address]

Dear ——

I have been following the progress of a convoy taking aid to the Gaza strip. The convoy consists of over 200 vehicles carrying many thousands of pounds worth of aid, and has been organized by Viva Palestina and The Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Many of the activists taking part have gone from the United Kingdom.

It has recently come to my attention that Egyptian authorities have blocked the progress of the convoy by denying entry to Egypt. The convoy is currently waiting in Jordan to be permitted to board a ferry across the Red Sea. I have heard from one person in the convoy who has described how they are cold and have little access to food at the moment.

I am kindly requesting that you use your position and influence to help us persuade the Egyptian authorities to permit the convoy to pass safely. This is very important to me, both for my hope that the people in Gaza will receive the much-needed aid, and also out of concern for my friends in the convoy.

Kind regards,
[Your full name]


Your local MP:;

Egyptian Embassy in London
020 7499 3304/2401

Clare Short (Independent MP for Birmingham Ladywood)
020 7219 4264/4148

David Miliband (Foreign Secretary/Labour MP for South Shields)
(0191) 456 8910

Nick Clegg (Leader of Lib Dems, MP for Sheffield Hallam);

British Embassy in Egypt
Tel: +(20)(2)27916000

NB. The embassy email addresses are only meant for information, so you could include a kind note to forward the message to the appropriate diplomatic staff. Huge thank you to the Queen Mary University of London Palestine Solidarity Society for providing this information.

Please share this note with your friends and let us do everything we can to help our comrades, who are tired and cold waiting for a ferry to Egypt!

Please be advised that the 3rd convoy is partnered with the PSC and not CODE PINK


Alice Howard
Viva Palestina UK – Administration Manager
Tel: 07944 512 469

BBC Climbs Down over Zionist ‘anti-Semitism’ Lies at SOAS Meeting

26 December, 2009

It was a simple and terrible accusation. The co-Chair of the Zionist Federation, Jonathan Hoffman, had got up to ask a question at a Bricup meeting, and he was subject to a shout of ‘Jew’ and ‘Jewish’ as well as being heckled because he was Jewish (not because of his views of course!).

There was only one problem. None of it was true. Indeed the BBC, when it saw a video of what happened, realised it had made a terrible mistake (even according to its own slipshod standards). Try as I might, I just cannot make out such a chant. And more to the point, it took Hoffman over 2 weeks before he realised that he had been subject to vicious anti-Semitic taunting! And then only because a Tory student spokesman, Raheem Kassam, had got round to inventing it.

The result is that quite uniquely for this pro-Zionist and pro-imperialist organisation, the BBC has entirely replaced the original report from its site, apologised and reprimanded the reporter responsible.

A report of the unfolding of this little drama and how Zionism attempts to smear and libel supporters of the Palestinians as ‘anti-Semites’ is below:

Tony Greenstein