Sunday, October 24, 2010
Viva Palestina convoy enters Gaza from Egypt
Activistts of the 'Viva Palestina' aid convoy for Gaza with more than 100 cars and lorries with aid wordth about 5 million dollars have crossed into the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip through Egypt's Rafah crossing.
The multinational Viva Palestina ship arrived at Egypt's port city of al-Arish from Lattakia, Syria, on Thursday. About 300 activists then flew into al-Arish airport and converged with the ship's passengers before entering Gaza.
The activists had initially joined up in Syria from Turkey, Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, and more than two dozen other countries.The convoy was organised by George Galloway a British politician. Galloway himself was not with the convoy, however, as he has been banned from Egypt after activists from a previous aid mission clashed with police in January in El-Arish, 45km from Gaza. Zaher Berawi, the spokesman for the convoy, said he hoped the issue of Galloway's banning could be resolved in the future.
Viva Palestina originally departed from London on September 18 and arrived in Syria two weeks later.
The activists then waited for over two weeks in Lattakia for permission from the Egyptian authorities for the shipment, which includes medical supplies and school equipment, to be allowed to enter al-Arish port.
Hamas officials and hundreds of Gazans welcomed the convoy, waving Palestinian flags and also those of countries participating in the mission.
The aid does not include any building materials, which the Egyptian authorities did not allow, as part of the agreement permitting the activists to enter Gaza for three days.
Several dozen survivors from the Israeli attack on May 31 on the Turkish aid ship the Mavi Marmara were among those in the "Viva Palestina" convoy.