26 March, 2010 – Viva Palestina
BEIRUT: British MP George Galloway announced on Tuesday 23rd March the foundation of the first annual University of Palestine, due to take place in Lebanon each year to educate Lebanese and international students on the Palestinian cause.
“We are going to bring 500 students from all over the world to study intensively for one week the Palestinian question: the history, the geography the culture and the politics. They will come from America, Australia and I hope from all over the world, with a substantial number from here in Lebanon”, Galloway said.
“We will make excursions to the border, to the Palestinian camps, to places of interest. We will hold lectures and workshops, sporting and cultural events”, he added.
The summer university will take place for one week each year at the campus of the Lebanese International University in the Bekaa Valley. Galloway said many prominent international speakers were expected to attend, such as Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Naomi Klein, Fadwa Barghouti, the wife of jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti, and Hizbullah spokesman Ibrahim Mousawi. The luminaries will give lectures, and plan the next 12 months of solidarity with the Palestinian people, according to Galloway.
Galloway also used the occasion to announce plans to break the blockade of Gaza later this year with a convoy of aid from Arab countries under the banner Viva Palestina Arabia.
The convoy will travel by sea from Turkey to the port of Gaza, led by Arab countries but including aid contributions from Viva Palestina campaigns in Britain, Turkey, America and Australia.
We are asking the Arab people to join us and see what they can do. We are appealing to the Arab world to act as their own public opinion, Galloway said Tuesday.
Galloways Viva Palestina campaign has delivered several convoys of aid to the Gaza Strip since its first trip from Britain in March 2009, most of them traveling by land or air to Egypt where they then crossed to Gaza through the Erez checkpoint. The last convoy was denied entry to the enclave by Egyptian authorities, leading to violent clashes between participants and security forces.
The ships will be loaded this time not with bread or medicine, which is all that has been allowed in across the land borders, as if the Palestinians in Gaza were animals in a zoo to be fed and kept alive; this time the ships will be loaded with building materials to rebuild houses, said Galloway, adding that the convoy would travel under the patronage of Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Galloway stressed the importance of the Palestinian solidarity movement in taking action at a time when Israeli policies are damaging chances of peace in the region.
Its up to us to act, to capitalize on this moment. Its up to Arabs to capitalize on this moment, especially those Arab countries with the closest ties with the United States, he told The Daily Star.
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Piece written by Richard Hall in the Daily Star in Lebanon
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