6 February, 2010 — Viva Palestine
Events have been moving fast since the convoy’s return from Gaza. In addition to the good news that the two convoy members who stayed behind in Gaza are now safely back following intensive efforts to secure their return, here are a couple of further updates.
Viva Palestina US held two very successful meetings in New York and in Boston last weekend, raising around $60,000. In addition, the American Friends of Palestine held a fundraising in New Jersey which raised over $100,000. It is particularly significant that despite attempts in the US to whip up hostility against solidarity with the Palestinians and against Viva Palestina, on account of its high profile, that these events were packed out. There was great enthusiasm for two upcoming initiatives.
Viva Palestina on the High Seas
1) Viva Palestina will be taking part in a mission to send a flotilla of boats to Gaza to seek to break the blockade by sea. The timing of this is in the process of being locked down and we are working very closely with the Turkish organisation IHH, which is taking the lead on organising logistics. All the signs are that there is enormous support in Britain and internationally for this venture. Further details will follow very shortly and VP is committed to a major fundraising effort to bring a significant component to the IHH-led effort.
Summer University of Palestine
2) Negotiations are at a closing stage in Lebanon on the details of a Summer University of Palestine to take place in late July/early August. Again, we will be in a position to announce the final details very shortly.
A large number of report back meetings have either happened or are planned, and there is already a huge awareness of what the convoy achieved. A tour of colleges is also organised so that students can hear about the conovy and about conditions facing students in Gaza.
Other meetings and events are also taking place. There will be a large meeting in Batley, West Yorkshire, at the end of this month, for example, thanks to the Indian Muslim Welfare Association, which was extremely supportive of the convoy and all our efforts. In addition, a lot of people have taken the time to write their thoughts about the whole experience down and to email us. Again, there is an overwhelmingly positive feeling. Please do send in your thoughts and suggestions so that we can incorporate them into planning for the future.
We are in the process of securing acknowledgments and thank yous from those who received the aid we delivered and we’ll make these available as we have them.
We hope to be able to put out a comprehensive update on future events soon.
In the meantime, one measure of the success of the convoy and the mushrooming support for Viva Palestina – which is expanding internationally (watch this space!) – is various attempts by those who support the siege to spread disinformation and downright lies about the convoy and their unsuccessful attempts to pressure public authorities in the US and Britain to take these spurious allegations seriously.
We won’t be intimidated by such underhand tricks and attempts to divide the movement we are building. Our answer is to press on, undeterred, and to build on the success of the last three convoys, all of which have broken the siege.