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Viva Palestina aid convoy hours away from breaking Gaza siege - NOW UPDATED `Riot has broken out in the port of Al- Arish`
UPDATE:
Email from: Jess Ghannam
VP: `Riot has broken out in the port of Al- Arish`

To all friends of Palestine

Our situation is now at a crisis point! Riot has broken out in the port of Al- Arish.

This late afternoon we were negotiating with a senior official from Cairo who left negotiations some two hours ago and did not return. Our negotiations with the official was regarding taking our aid vehicles into Gaza.

He left two hours ago and did not come back. Egyptian authorities called over 2,000 riot police who then moved towards our camp at the port.

We have now blocked the entrance to the port and we are now faced with riot police and water cannons and are determined to defend our vehicles and aid.

The Egyptian authorities have by their stubbornness and hostility towards the convoy, brought us to a crisis point.

We are now calling upon all friends of palestine to mount protests in person where possible, but by any means available to Egyptian representatives, consulates and Embassy`s and demand that the convoy are allowed a safe passage into Gaza tomorrow!


Kevin Ovenden
Viva Palestina Convoy Leader



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Press Release
4th January 2010
Palestine Solidarity Campaign info@palestinecampaign.org


The Viva Palestina international aid convoy is just hours away from breaking Israel’s three and a half year siege of Gaza.

Despite repeated obstructions from the Egyptian government, including its refusal to allow the convoy to land in the Egyptian port of Nuweiba, convoy members hope to be in Gaza tomorrow.

198 convoy vehicles, including ambulances and vans, were loaded on to a ferry in the Syrian port of Latakia on Saturday (2nd January) and have now docked and cleared customs at the Egyptian port of El Arish.

Convoy members will fly to El Arish today from Latakia to pick up the vehicles and drive less than one hundred miles to Egypt’s Rafah border crossing with Gaza.

Since Israel imposed its near total blockade on Gaza in 2006, people, aid and vehicles have been blocked from entering the Strip.

The convoy, jointly organised by Viva Palestina and Palestine Solidarity Campaign, will be taking in aid, including specialised medical equipment, and will also be leaving all its vehicles in Gaza.

It had hoped to enter the Strip on 27th December 2009, to mark the first anniversary of the day Israel began its three weeks land, air and sea assault on Gaza, killing 1,400 Palestinians and destroying homes, farms and essential infrastructure.

However, the convoy was forced to retrace its route through Jordan and Syria last week, after being refused permission to sail from Aqaba, Jordan to Nuweiba.

Kevin Ovenden, convoy organiser, said: ‘Despite all the difficulties, by land, by sea and by air, we are within 24hrs of breaking the siege of Gaza.’

‘We now have every right to expect unhindered and safe passage into Gaza, but we call on all our friends internationally to stand ready to raise their voices if we face further unjustified delay.’

For further information on the Viva Palestina Gaza aid convoy and updates visit www.vivapalestina.org

Press information from Alice Howard on Tel: 07944 512 469 or via email: alice@vivapalestina.org

Note: This is the third Viva Palestina convoy to attempt to break Israel`s siege of Gaza this year. It has been organised by the charity, Viva Palestina, and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the UK`s largest organisation campaigning for solidarity with the Palestinian people. The last two convoys were successful in delivering aid.


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