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Viva Palestina convoy updates

Viva Palestina

12 July 2009

The Viva Palestina members who spent the night in their buses at the Suez Crossing after being stopped by Egyptian authorities on July 11 have now rendezvoused in Cairo with British Member of Parliament George Galloway and former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who has rushed to join the convoy following her deportation from Israel on Wednesday.

Galloway, McKinney and the Viva Palestina leadership have been working with Egyptian and U.S. authorities to expedite the passage of the convoy over the Suez Canal and into Gaza.

Egyptian authorities have held up the convoy claiming that it has not acquired the necessary travel permits from U.S. officials in order to cross into Gaza. But the convoy sent copious documentation, on request, to several Egyptian state officials before even setting foot in Cairo.

New York City Councilmember Charles Barron, who led the group at the Suez Canal, says, “Whether these new requirements are genuine or not, we will get around these obstacles. We are going to Gaza.”

George Galloway was interviewed on Al Jazeera television tonight and emphasized the convoy’s determination to bring medical aid to Gaza.

In an interview prior to the broadcast, he said, “If the Egyptian authorities want us to jump through yet another hoop, we will, even though their ambassadors in Washington, DC, London, and Tripoli, Libya were already supplied with this information, at their request. The U.S. embassy in Cairo was informed about the mission as was the Egyptian Foreign Ministry.

“So now we expect that there should be no further reasons for the delayed transportation of this urgently needed relief to the people of Gaza. We have hundreds of thousands of dollars of medicine, which are time-sensitive and perishable and which need to reach the children of Gaza.”

Another group of Viva Palestina delegates is in Alexandria to take possession of 47 vehicles that will be used to drive the group’s humanitarian and medical relief supplies through the Rafah border crossing. A third Viva Palestina element is continuing to gather additional aid in Cairo.

Tomorrow, Viva Palestina plans to gather all its forces in Ismailia, load all of the collected aid on its vehicles, and make final preparations for the drive through the Sinai.

The Viva Palestina convoy expects progress on all fronts tomorrow and is calling on sympathetic organizations to mobilize their networks and stand ready for actions such as solidarity protests at Egyptian embassies and consulates.