British aid convoy to Gaza

Route of the Viva Palestina Convoy
Route of the Viva Palestina Convoy

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After frantic preparations  to join British aid convoy to Gaza, Kamahl Mashni from Australians for Palestine arrived in London in time to find himself assigned as one of the drivers of the fire engine leading the convoy.

The aid convoy is the bold initiative of British MP George Galloway who – along with many other MPs, senior government ministers, church leaders, aid
workers, BBC staff, film stars – was outraged when the BBC refused to air a Gaza Appeal after Israel’s devastating 3-week long war on a Palestinian population already suffering immense deprivations from Israel’s 18 months of
punitive sanctions.

The appeal had been launched by The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), an umbrella organisation for 13 humanitarian aid organisations: Action Aid, British Red Cross, CAFOD, Care International, Christian Aid, Conern, Help the Aged, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund, World Vision.

The BBC had claimed that it did not want to compromise public confidence in its impartiality and was also concerned about the delivery of aid in a volatile situation, despite the ceasefire being already in place.

[See the appeal the BBC refused to show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smBSqO90k4c ]

Kamahl is one of about 300 volunteers who have left London in a 110-vehicle convoy,  all filled to the brim with more than £1 million worth of aid for the people in Gaza.  The number of vehicles, people and aid are expected to
increase as the convoy makes its 5,000 mile journey through France, Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.

So far, the convoy has exceeded all expectations with 12 ambulances, a boat, trucks and a fire engine in the
line-up.  George Galloway who is leading the convoy said: “We will lead the biggest convoy of British vehicles across North Africa since Montgomery.”

If all goes well, the convoy should arrive on the Egyptian side of Rafah in early March, and hopefully, will not be faced with problems about entering into Gaza through the border town of Rafah.

We urge everyone to support our Australian effort to bring aid to the Palestinians.   You can send a Valentine to Gaza through Australians for Palestine and Women for Palestine. Details for making donations can be
found on the attached poster or by visiting our website
http://www.australiansforpalestine.com – SK

Sky News Report

Vigil for Palestine outside London’s Big Ben and the houses of Parliament

10 thoughts on “British aid convoy to Gaza

  1. Justice for Palestine meeting says:

    Hi everyone,

    Sorry for the late notice, but there will be a Justice for Palestine meeting tonight (Wednesday) at 6:30 in the TLC Building (2nd floor), 16 Peel St, South Brisbane.

    in solidarity,
    Kathy

  2. VIVA PALESTINA Video says:

    VIVA PALESTINA – LIFELINE TO GAZA

    We bring you the heart-warming story of Viva Palestina – Lifeline to Gaza – the British convoy of some 300 volunteers (our own Kamahl Mashni from Australia included) that left England on Valentine’s Day, 14 February to make the 5000 mile journey across Europe and North Africa to the Gaza Strip to bring vital aid to the Palestinians desperate for food and medicines due to Israel’s punitive sanctions.

    The 6-part video reveals the enormous undertaking that would have defeated most people except that it had the intrepid British MP George Galloway negotiating his way through the political and logistical obstacles in each of the countries and the resilient volunteers who were each determined to brave all kinds of conditions and restrictions for the besieged people in
    Gaza.

    Despite the unfortunate ending to Kamahl’s journey (the fire engine he was driving was not allowed in to Gaza), Kamahl said the most important thing was that the aid got through. He would do it all again to help his people. More than ever their plight must be brought to the attention of a world still oblivious to the devastation being wrought on their society.

    – SK
    http://www.australiansforpalestine.com

    LIFELINE TO GAZA
    Part 1
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcWJkjG973A&feature=related
    Part 2
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9EspRi_ec4&feature=related
    Part 3
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVqRrVLhKxs&feature=related
    Part 4
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UvBICfWtmc&feature=related
    Part 5
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cP3GP6QSMmA&feature=related
    Part 6

      1. Israel used depleted uranium in offensive on Gaza says:

        Israel used depleted uranium in offensive on Gaza

        Sunday, 24 May 2009 10:22 Added by PT Editor Pal Tel Admin

        Gaza, May 24, (Pal Telegraph) – Action of Citizens for the total Dismantling of Nukes (ACDN) said Saturday that it has just produced a 33-page report concluding that the presence of as much as 75 tons of depleted uranium in Gaza soil is highly probable to the Israeli “Operation Cast Lead” offensive.

        The operation took place between December 27, 2008 and January 18, 2009. Read More

        [Thanks to Ray for this]

  3. More on Viva Palestina — Sonja Karkar says:

    Just when it seemed that the Viva Palestina convoy from London to Gaza had successfully completed its mission, a new development greeted the British MP George Galloway when he returned home after announcing yet another convoy to Gaza from the US leaving on 4 July.

    Now it seems that the British Charity Commission has frozen £100,000 of aid money raised for the suffering Palestinians in Gaza because it claims “concerns” over Viva Palestina’s structure and the million pounds raised for Gaza when it never sought charitable status in the first place.

    It was always clearly stated that each of the participants would bring their own vehicles, fill them with desperately needed goods via donations and raise their own money to help the Palestinians.

    It is no surprise that George Galloway MP is going to fight what is obviously an orchestrated campaign to thwart any further attempts to bring aid to Gaza.

    He very clearly points out in his letter, the Charity Commission’s extraordinary double standards in closing its eyes to the British Zionist Federation’s call in January for Britons to send “care packages. . . to our [i.e. Israeli] soldiers fighting on the front line in Gaza” through the charity Operation Wheelchairs Committee.]

    A charity which solicits donations for a foreign army that is attacking a defenceless people is reprehensible.

    One can only imagine the outrage if a Muslim charity had asked for care packages for our [i.e. Palestinian] fighters on the front line.

    More importantly, people everywhere should be asking questions about why any organisation – in this instance, the Charity Commission, but earlier the BBC for refusing to air an advert on aid for Gaza – would seek to interfere in transparent efforts that might bring relief to a people under siege?

    – SK

    1. Thanks to Sonja Karkar for her report of what has happened in the wake of the convoy to Gaza called Viva Palestina.

      I hope the Israel lobby is not as monolithic as we think.

      I think that the use of the holocaust as a means to justify Israel is losing its potency.

      We ought listen to the gentle voice of the Jewish author, Primo Levi, who would turn in his grave to hear how the Israel lobby has used his suffering & that of the millions that died to justify the apartheid state of Israel.

      In his books ‘If this is a man‘ & ‘The Truce‘ Levy sheds light on the suffering of people in the Nazi camps: the poles, the homosexuals, the communists & socialists, the gypsies as well as all the jews. He manages to do this in a positive way, something almost impossible to imagine…

      You who live safe 
      In your warm houses,
      [Nelle vostre tiepide case]
      You who find warm food 
      And friendly faces when you return home.
      [voi che trovate tornando a sera Il cibo 
      caldo e visi amici] 
      Consider if this is a man
      [Considerate se questo è un uomo] 
      Who works in mud,
      [Che lavora nel fango]
      Who knows no peace,
      [Che non conosce pace]
      Who fights for a crust of bread,
      [Che lotta per mezzo pane] 	
      Who dies by a yes or a no.
      [Che muore per un sì o per un no.]
      Consider if this is a woman
      [Considerate se questa è una donna]
      Without hair, without name,
      [Senza capelli e senza nome]
      Without the strength to remember,
      [Senza più forza di ricordare]
      Empty are her eyes, cold her womb,
      [Vuoti gli occhi e freddo il grembo ]
      Like a frog in winter.
      [Come una rana d'inverno.]
      Never forget that this has happened.
      [Meditate che questo è stato ]
      Remember these words.
      [Vi comando queste parole.]
      Engrave them in your hearts,
      [Scolpitele nel vostro cuore]
      When at home or in the street,
      [Stando in casa andando per via]
      When lying down, when getting up.
      [Coricandovi alzandovi 	]
      Repeat them to your children.
      [Ripetetele ai vostri figli.]
      Or may your houses be destroyed,
      [O vi si sfaccia la casa ]
      May illness strike you down,
      [La malattia vi impedisca]
      May your offspring turn their faces from you.
      [I vostri nati torcano il viso da voi]
                               Primo Levi
      1. Ray Bergmann says:

        “Everybody is somebody’s Jew. And today
        the Palestinians are the Jews of the Israelis.”
        — Primo Levi, cited in A Hard Case:
        The Life and Death of Primo Levi;
        The New Yorker, 17 Jun 2002.

  4. Convoy passes into Gaza says:

    Yesterday afternoon, 9 March 2009, the Viva Palestina convoy, having driven from London to Rafah in Egypt, crossed into Gaza thus breaking the siege imposed by Israel.

    The success of this convoy has made the following political points:

    1. The siege of Gaza can be broken by ordinary people prepared to make sacrifices.
    2. Pressure can be put on regimes in North Africa to support the Palestinian people.
    3. Popular support for the Palestinians is widespread across Arab countries like Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.

    More reports at:

    Viva Palestina

    Press TV report near the border at el-Arich here

  5. Griffith Uni Justice for Palestine organising meeting says:

    Griffith Uni Justice for Palestine organising meeting

    Come along to this meeting to help plan for a public meeting on March 31 at Griffith Uni that will feature Rachel Johnson, an activist from the International Solidarity Movement (see http://palsolidarity.org/) who has recently returned from Gaza.

    Thursday March 5, 1pm
    Patience Thoms Building (N06) Room 0.14
    Griffith Uni (Nathan Campus)

    If you can’t make it to this meeting, but would like to help publicise the upcoming events and activities at Griffith Uni please email kathynew1@hotmail.com or phone 0400 720 757

  6. Viva Palestina Convoy in Libya says:

    The Viva Palestina convoy has arrived in Libya. The Libyan government has organised 5 days of hospitality in Libya.

    According to the newspaper Libya Elyoum, the program for the Gaza convoy is as follows:

    Saturday 29-02-09

    Welcome and reception at border point of Ras Ajdir
    Head for the Scout’ training centre in Joddaim.

    Sunday 01-03-09

    Leave for public rally in centre of Tripoli
    Here a local convoy will be joining ours.
    Press conference
    Short stop at Khoms
    Rally at Masrata and the inauguration of GAZA STREET.

    Monday 02-03-09
    Leave Masrata in the morning
    Pass through Surt and Guardabia
    Stop at Ras Lanouf for the night

    Tuesday 03-03-09

    Leave then stop at Akila
    Rest at Barika for lunch
    Public rally at Ajdabia next to Sport City
    Arrival at Bengazi-Accomodation at the Touristic Village

    Wednesday 04-03-09
    Press conference
    Local convoy joins ours
    Rally and rest at the city of Marj
    Rally at Al Bayda city and stop for the night

    Thursday 05-03-09

    Head for the town of Derna via Shahat Soussa
    Pulic rally at Derna
    Leave for the city of Tobruk
    Public rally at Tobruk and overnight stay

    Friday 06-03-09

    Leave for the area of Amsaada
    Ceremony and departure of convoy

    Prepared and translated by Farid Arada

    For more on the journey see http://www.vivapalestina.org/

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