Monday, 18 October 2010

History-making aid convoy about to bust Gaza siege

Viva Palestina founder George Galloway announces the Gaza convoy is sailing to Egypt on 18 October despite Cairo blacklisting himself and 16 other volunteers. He is speaking to a crush of international media and 400 convoyers in Latakia, the main port of Syria.

Kia Ora Gaza media release
18 October 2010

Today the international aid convoy to Gaza, whose three columns have driven from England, North Africa and the Arab East to link up in Syria, leaves land and takes to the waters of the Mediterranean.

These are the same waters where, four months ago, Israeli commandos stormed the Gaza aid vessel Mavi Marmara, leaving nine civilian aid workers shot to death and dozens more wounded.

The convoy’s destination is the Egyptian port of Al-Arish, just a 19 kilometre drive to Rafah Gate, the only land entrance to Gaza not under the control of Israel.

“It took a tense ten-day battle of wills to get Cairo to grant safe passage across Egypt and into Gaza, but the convoy finally got the green light,” said Grant Morgan, co-organiser of Kia Ora Gaza, which has a six-person Kiwi Team among the 400 convoyers driving 150 aid-packed vehicles.

“This is a history-making convoy because Egypt’s back door to Gaza has been well and truly pushed open by the convoy’s huge size, sheer determination and international support,” Mr Morgan continued.

“It’s a fantastic victory, and all Kiwis who care about a fair go for all will be proud that our own Kia Ora Gaza team is part of this humanitarian breakthrough.”

At the last minute, Cairo blacklisted 17 convoyers from entering Egypt, including George Galloway, the founder of Viva Palestina which organised the month-long epic journey across three continents.

“Not even Cairo’s blacklisting of 17 aid volunteers can take the shine off the convoy’s huge triumph,” said Mr Morgan. “The guts and grit of the convoyers, together with growing global support, has broken Israel’s inhuman siege of Gaza. It’s a big step forward for humanity.”

The convoy could be entering Gaza by Wednesday 20th October.

“Convoyers are sure to be greeted by cheering throngs of Gazans. They badly need the convoy’s chemotherapy drugs, X-ray machines and other life-saving supplies. Even more, these suffering but resilient people appreciate the international solidarity which is helping them to bust the brutal blockade,” said Mr Morgan.

Keep up to date with the Viva Palestina convoy at

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