Viva Palestina Convoy UPDATE
“Grown men were weeping at the sight of the Rafah Border”
I started writing this blog last night after viewing televised news reports on the convoy. I am suffering from the flu today so only getting this up now. Today (Monday 09, March) I will continue to blog on the progress of the convoy which is supposed to enter Gaza today. Starting with last night, from live television news report, big problems in Egypt, convoy members have come under attack, several have been injured.
The convoy is only a few miles for the Rafah border and has been stopped and detained by Egyptian authorities who are under pressure by Israel to force the convoy through Israel instead of the Rafah border. Of course, George Galloway and convoy members will never agree to this and have said so publicly. However, negotiations still continue and Egypt has caved in to Israel to some degree by insisting that only the medical equipment can go through in Rafah. This is outrageous!! The Fire Engine the lorry with the huge generator and all other non-medical equipment will be forced through Israel before entering Gaza. Meaning all the wonderful donations collected for the people and children will go into the hands of the Israelis and most likely never seen again!!
Gaza-bound aid convoy ‘Viva Palestina’ has been attacked in Egypt on its way to break a long imposed Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip.
Several activists were injured after the attackers – claimed to be members of Palestinian Fatah faction – vandalized some of the cars in the convoy, Press TV reported Sunday.
British lawmaker, George Galloway, who is travelling with the convoy, said that Egyptian authorities did not protect the convoy despite their promises.” They are blocking us inside, but they don’t protect us.”
The convoy of peace activists including Press TV presenter Yvonne Ridley and Film maker Hassan Ghani left London on February 14.
Continuing on about last night. The convoy was being held in a small area, surrounded by barricades and hundreds of Egyptian police, it is 8:30 PM and dark. Suddenly the lights go out and the convoy is attacked by “unknown” groups of people who were obviously allowed to pass through the line of riot police surrounding the convoy. Members of the Viva Palestina group were attacked with stones and bricks, their vehicles were defaced with disgusting remarks. The Egyptian police did nothing to protect the convoy members and several have now been injured and are bleeding.
Moving on, this pattern of the all electricity being suddenly cut off, the area falling onto total darkness and “groups” of attackers being let through the police line continues. Earlier, some convoy members fought back when the Egyptian police attempted to separate the convoy into several tiny groups on the premise of then allowing these tiny groups to continue on to Gaza one at a time. However this is viewed to be a ploy by the Egyptian police and authorities who have so far not been helpful to the convoy and not protected the convoy.
video from before the attacks in Egypt
This morning, terrible scenes from last night, of Egyptian police with batons charging the convoy members and beating them back. This is a disgrace and Egypt should be ashamed!! And, in another live interview, George Galloway MP, has said that the Egyptian police did not protect the convoy members and allowed unknown “groups” of people through to attack them and vandalised the convoy vehicles by writing vile messages on them. He stated the vehicles will be restored by members before entering into Gaza. Additionally, this morning, it is confirmed that ONLY medical supplies will pass through the Rafah border crossing. Everything else will be handed over to the Egyptian Red Crescent to then be transported into Gaza via Israel. I doubt Gaza will ever see any of this! Egypt should be ashamed of itself, what a disgrace. So much for the Great Arab Nation of Egypt. Who, it appears, is now controlled by Israel!
UPDATE: some of the convoy has now reached the border crossing, the area between both borders known as “no man’s land” Press TV reporter, Yvonne Ridley who is travelling with the convoy, reported that upon seeing the Rafah border, many member of the convoy were weeping. “Grown men were weeping at the sight of the Rafah border” she said. These vehicles are expected to cross into Gaza within the hour, they are now waiting for ALL other convoy vehicles to arrive as well. George Galloway MP was still in Al Arish in Egypt where the convoy encountered problems last night. He has refused to leave until all the other convoy vehicles and members are at the border and safely into Gaza. Once he knows they are all safely inside Gaza, then he will cross over and the ceremonies will begin inside Gaza.
Reporting form the Gaza side of the border, a journalist is waiting and has also stated the same thing, that once the entire convoy reaches inside Gaza, Galloway will enter. After this happens a reception will take place at which time I will blog about that when it happens.
Keep watching here for live updates on the convoy entering into Gaza and the reception ceremonies and speeches as they happen.
Yvonne Ridley at Rafah crossing, reporting the George Galloway is about half and hour away from the border now. Once he arrives and the convoy is reunited it will make its attempt to cross into Gaza where a huge reception is awaiting them. They expect the convoy to be crossed into Gaza by 3:00 PM baring no more complications by the Egyptians.
Journalist from the Gaza side reporting that officials have gathered to welcome them and will hold a formal reception (at the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing) then they will go from there into Gaza city itself, where they will meet the people of Gaza who will also welcome them in another big ceremony. Galloway will be speaking along with other Palestinian officials once inside. More as it happens…