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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/6/10

Blocking Freedom Marcher/Viva Palestina Aid to Gaza

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British MP George Galloway and Kevin Ovenden lead it, had appealed to Egypt for Gaza access through the Red Sea Nuweiba port, but were denied. Cairo ordered the alternate, much longer route, risking Israeli interception, and no assurance of Gaza entry on arrival regardless of promises made.


On January 4, AP reported that the "convoy will be allowed to enter the Gaza Strip after organizers struck a deal with Egyptian authorities over its transit route."


On January 4, they arrived at El Arish, cleared customs, expect to enter Gaza as soon as possible, are just 100 miles away, and "198 vehicles" are coming with aid that includes specialized medical equipment and the vehicles themselves. Those let in will stay and are vitally needed.


Convoy organizer, Kevin Ovenden, expressed optimism saying:


"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."


On January 3, Al-Zajeera reported that Egypt will temporarily open the Rafah crossing from January 3 - 6, something sporadically done before, only to be shut again on short or no notice.


Whether all, or even any, aid gets in unknown as earlier promises have been broken, and Israel keeps Gaza isolated under siege with Cairo a complicit ally.


Events are fast-moving and fluid. On January 5, aid members reported that Egyptian authorities seized 157 passports, including from convoy leaders George Galloway and Kevin Ovenden. They'd been stamped on arrival, then got an exit stamp, meaning they'd have to leave the country. Word was that these members alone would gain Gaza entry, not another 400 flying into Al Arish late Monday. After "noisy protests," passports were later returned with exit stamps removed, so temporarily the issue was resolved.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.
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