4th January 2010
The Viva Palestina international aid convoy is just hours away from breaking Israel’s three and a half year siege of Gaza.
Despite repeated obstructions from the Egyptian government, including its refusal to allow the convoy to land in the Egyptian port of Nuweiba, convoy members hope to be in Gaza tomorrow.
198 convoy vehicles, including ambulances and vans, were loaded on to a ferry in the Syrian port of Latakia on Saturday (2nd January) and have now docked and cleared customs at the Egyptian port of El Arish.
Convoy members will fly to El Arish today from Latakia to pick up the vehicles and drive less than one hundred miles to Egypt’s Rafah border crossing with Gaza.
Since Israel imposed its near total blockade on Gaza in 2006, people, aid and vehicles have been blocked from entering the Strip.
The convoy, jointly organised by Viva Palestina and Palestine Solidarity Campaign, will be taking in aid, including specialised medical equipment, and will also be leaving all its vehicles in Gaza.
It had hoped to enter the Strip on 27th December 2009, to mark the first anniversary of the day Israel began its three weeks land, air and sea assault on Gaza, killing 1,400 Palestinians and destroying homes, farms and essential infrastructure.
However, the convoy was forced to retrace its route through Jordan and Syria last week, after being refused permission to sail from Aqaba, Jordan to Nuweiba.
Kevin Ovenden, convoy organiser, said: ‘Despite all the difficulties, by land, by sea and by air, we are within 24hrs of breaking the siege of Gaza.’
‘We now have every right to expect unhindered and safe passage into Gaza, but we call on all our friends internationally to stand ready to raise their voices if we face further unjustified delay.’
For further information on the Viva Palestina Gaza aid convoy and updates visit http://www.vivapalestina.org
Press information from Alice Howard on Tel: 07944 512 469 or via email: email@example.com