The Viva Palestina convoy of almost 150 vehicles, 370 people from 30 different countries and $5 million of aid has entered Gaza.
Amidst scenes of jubilation from thousands of Palestinians there to greet the convoy, Kevin Ovenden, the convoy director, expressed his joy at being in Gaza once again. “We have driven more than 3,000 miles to bring this essential aid and to break this illegal siege of Gaza. We have been joined by supporters from Morocco and Algeria and from the Gulf States and Jordan, to make this the biggest convoy ever to break the siege of Gaza. We are absolutely overjoyed to be here and to bring with us the soil from the graves of those who were massacred on the Mavi Marmara which will be used to plant trees as a memorial to their sacrifice.”
The convoy set out four weeks and five days ago from London. It travelled through France, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Syria. Everywhere the reception was fantastic and the generosity of well-wishers unsurpassed. Towards the end there was a frustrating delay in Syria whilst negotiations at the highest levels were conducted with the Egyptian authorities. In the end it was all worth it as the Egyptian authorities decided to allow passage of the whole convoy, sadly excluding just 17 members of the convoy including George Galloway.
The convoy will be handed over in its entirety to the relevant bodies tomorrow and the members of the convoy then expect to leave Gaza and return home in the next 48 hours after celebrations and formal thanks are given.
Tuesday 19th October
CONVOY FINALLY SETS SAIL FOR GAZA
After a wait in Syria lasting sixteen days, the convoy of 150 vehicles and 370 people is just setting sail from Latakia, Syria, on the final leg of the epic journey to deliver aid to Gaza. The last formalities have been completed and the vehicles are on board.
Convoy members are jubilant that their objective of bringing medical aid to the besieged people of Gaza is finally in sight. Some 30 of the human rights activists, including survivors of the Mavi Marmara, will make the voyage to Al Arish in Egypt, passing the place at which the Mavi Marmara was attacked.
A memorial ceremony will be held at the exact spot where the massacre was carried out. The convoy will reach Al Arish tomorrow evening.
The bulk of the activists from Britain, Northern Ireland, France, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the United States, Morocco, Algeria, Jordan, Qatar, Malaysia and more than a dozen other countries will be reunited with their vehicles there, having flown the final leg of the journey into Egypt. Convoy leaders are now hopeful that the convoy will enter Gaza on Friday.
For more details go to: http://www.vivapalestina.org/home.htm