December 27, 2009
Since June 2007 Gaza has been under a crippling blockade with few essential goods making it through. Now an aid convoy of 250 trucks and ambulances is attempting to reach the Strip to deliver much needed supplies. But a bureaucratic argument with Egypt is holding it back in Aqaba in southwest Jordan. Al Jazeera’s Clayton Swisher reports.
From a Facebook message by John Hurson
Dec. 26, 2009
Well folks, as you awake today from your Christmas hangover, over 500 people from 20 countries, in 250 vehicles loaded with Humanitarian Aid, are left stranded in Aqaba, Jordan, having been refused permission to enter Egypt. From Ireland, 10 volunteers in 2 ambulances, a van, and a truck loaded with Humanitarian Aid are part of this convoy. The convoy is organised by “Viva Palestina”, a charity founded by George Galloway, MP.
The Egyptian Government have placed 3 conditions on the convoy if it wants to enter Egypt.
1. We hand all our vehicles and aid over to UNRA.
2. We drive 500 miles back to Syria, and take a 24 hour ferry through the Suez Canal.
3. We have to ask Israel for permission to cross from Egypt to Gaza.
All 3 conditions have been flatly rejected by everyone on the convoy, as we want to cross into Gaza and hand our aid over to the Palestinians ourselves.
Would you phone Canada to ask permission to enter the US? Would you ask France for permission to go to Germany? For the 1st time, Egypt have now openly admitted that they are under control of Israel/US.
This has been the lead story on Al Jazeera for the past 24 hours, and there are media teams from all over the Arab world here in Aqaba following this story. Needless to say, everyone watching is totally outraged by Egypt’s complicity with Israel/US in denying this convoy of aid to reach Gaza. Needless to say, the western media have so far refused to cover this story.
Yesterday, Christmas Day, I dressed up as Santa to lighten the mood, and everyones sprirts lifted.
Al Jazeera interviewed Santa, who explained that the children in Gaza were the only ones in the whole world who didn’t receive any presents. Santa explained that while flying through the air on his sleigh with the reindeer, he was stopped and refused entry. Santa was upset as this was the only place in the world he could not visit.
Tomorrow marks the 1st anniversary of the start of the 22 day massacre of over 1,400 people. In solidarity, we are all going to embark on a fast. We will all fast for as long as it takes for us to get into Gaza with our aid.
We are calling on people all over the world to fast with us, and with the Palestinians, who fast every day due to the illegal siege imposed upon them by Israel/US/Egypt.
It’s time to take a stand and say “Enough Is Enough”. This siege has got to stop, for the sake of humanity, and our aid must be allowed to reach the stricken people in Gaza.
I am calling on you to contact the Egyptian Embassy and demand that we be allowed to enter Gaza, and deliver our aid.
The contact details for the Egyptian Embassy in Dublin are: +353-1-6606718 / +353-1-6606566 / firstname.lastname@example.org
The contact details for the Egyptian Embassy in London are: 0044-20-7499-3304 / email@example.com”
Please contact them, and express your outrage at their refusal to allow Humanitarian Aid into Gaza, and to let them know that you will never travel to Egypt again, as long as they are the lap dogs for Israel/US.
Please forward this message on to everyone you know, and ask them to do the same. Plus, please reply and leave a message of support for everyone who is stranded here in Aqaba, and for the Palestinians who need our support now, more than ever.
If you are a member of Facebook, please join the following “Ireland To Gaza” group for all the latest updates on our progress:
Stranded in Aqaba, Jordan
International Hunger Strike
From a Facebook message by John Hurson
Dec. 26, 2009
Folks, the time for talking is over. Please forward this press release onto everyone you know, and get them to forward it onto everyone they know, and lets tighten the screws and show the world we care for the civillian population of Gaza.
International Hunger Strike Press Release
Sunday December 27th marks the anniversary of the attack on Gaza by Israel, which left over 1,400 people dead, and over 5,000 injured in 22 days.
At 11 35 am, the time of the first attack, a group of humanitarians on the “Viva Palestina Convoy” will embark on an International Hunger Strike in the main square in Aqaba, Jordan.
The International Hunger Strike will aim to highlight the ongoing illegal siege imposed on Gaza, and to remember the victims of the attacks who died during the 22 day bombardment by Israel.
This International Hunger Strike will also highlight the refusal by Egypt, under Israeli pressure, to allow the humanitarian aid to reach the people in Gaza.
The convoy has been stranded in the city for 3 days now, having been refused permission to enter Egypt on their way to Gaza. There are 500 people from no less than 20 different countries in 250 vehicles loaded with charitable humanitarian aid. The convoy is been led by leading international politician George Galloway, having left London on December 6th.
Embarking on the International Hunger Strike are 15 people from different continents across the world. Among those taking part are Fatima Mohammidi from the United States, John Hurson and Caoimhe Butterly from Ireland, Ahasan Shamruk from Palestine, Nidal Hajaj, Hanan Chehata and Mohammed Shakiel from England, plus Kamal Mashni from Australia among others.
Each day, 15 more people from the convoy will join in the International Hunger Strike, and they will go without food until the convoy is allowed to enter safely into Egypt, and through the Rafah border to Gaza.
Speaking from Aqaba, Ahasan Shamruk, said, “I am joining this Hunger Strike to draw attention to the fact that the siege is a form of collective, sustained, and devastating punishment of 1.5 million civilian people. As we commemorate the first year anniversary of the massacres, it is important to remember, that for my brothers and sisters living under siege in Gaza, the war has not ended.”
John Hurson, from Tyrone, who travelled on the first “Viva Palestinan Convoy”, decided to join the International Hunger Strike to draw attention to the fact that nothing has changed in the past year following the attacks.
John said, “from my time spent in Gaza, to think that in the year 2009, people are denied all the basic essentials in life, like water, electricity, medicine, blankets, books, and even footballs for the children, is just unbelievable and unacceptable.
“For Egypt to prevent this compassionate and charitable aid, donated by ordinary caring people from all over the world, unnecessarily adds to the hardships currently endured on a daily basis, by the besieged and distressed people in Gaza.
I am hopeful that the leaders of the West will exert their influence, put pressure on Egypt, the United States, and Israel to end this inhuman blockade forced upon Gaza, and allow for the safe passage of this essential humanitarian aid. Enough is enough, this has to end now, for the sake of humanity.”
Viva Palestina stuck in Aqaba
December 26, 2009