Egypt stops U.S. Gaza-bound medical convoy

July 12, 2009

At the Rafah Gate. June 2009.

The Rafah Gate. 2nd. June 2009. Photo by Nada Kassas. Egyptian Journalist and Activist.

An update from the International Movement to Open the Rafah border received today states:

“Egyptian authorities have refused to allow ‘Viva Palestina’ activists trying to carry humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip to cross into the Sinai Peninsula. The largest-ever US aid convoy to help the people of Gaza was stopped at the Suez Canal on Saturday on its way to Al Arish, where the rest of the group and supplies will join them before heading for the border crossing into Gaza”. (See also this report from Presstv

IMORB says: “The activists are part of a convoy of at least 200 people — all Americans, including Charles Barron, a New York City Councilman — that plan to be in Gaza by July 13. Former US Congresswoman from Georgia, Cynthia McKinney, who was arrested by Israeli forces earlier this month while heading to Gaza on a humanitarian mission, will also join the convoy”.

My note: (The events which immediately preceeding this arrest have been filmed. Click here to see some dramatic footage of the Peace ship ‘The Spirit of Humanity’ featuring Cynthia McKinney and other international activists including a Nobel Peace prize holder).

Viva Palestina U.S. activists say despite earlier arrangements, Egyptian border officials are not allowing the medical convoy to pass and have even threatened them with arrest, saying they have not received a list of the names of the members of the convoy. The group — intending to break the crippling Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza, home to 1.5 million Palestinians — spent the night in their buses despite pressure from security officials to return to Cairo”. IMORB said. 

“We are determined to cross onto Gaza, and no matter what happens next, out of this first small confrontation, we’ve achieved a success for the movement in support of the Palestinian people. The convoy is going to move on, and we ain’t gonna let nobody turn us around,” Barron, a convoy spokesperson said.

 IMORB puts the news in context:  “Egypt and Israel have sealed their borders with the seaside territory since 2007 when Hamas took control of the coastal territory, leaving thousands of Gazans in desperate need of life’s essentials”.

“According to a recent report by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the deadly Israeli-led blockade, which has prevented supplies from reaching Gaza, has created a dire humanitarian situation in the region. The humanitarian agency says seriously ill patients are not receiving the treatment they need and that thousands of Gazans whose homes were destroyed during Israel’s three-week Cast Lead military operation are still without shelter” (IMORB).

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