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General News    H3'ed 7/3/09

Viva Palestina to lead largest US convoy into Gaza July 4th

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In a press release on 3rd July 2009,  Viva Palestina says:

"British anti-war MP George Galloway is to fly out on Saturday 4th July, American independence day, from JFK airport in New York with the first of a group of hundreds of US citizens who are to form the largest ever aid convoy to head into Gaza.
"They will be heading off a month to the day from President Obama's signal speech in Cairo promising a new, more egalitarian US engagement with the Muslim world and a change in policy over Palestine and the Middle East from the disastrous eight years of the Bush administration.
"For six weeks the Viva Palestina campaign, launched by Galloway with an earlier convoy in March from Britain in March, has been building support for the mission across the US.
"George will be leaving from JFK with the convoy members on Saturday afternoon. They will be landing in Cairo on Sunday at midday.There will be over 200 people participating in the convoy      which will assemble in Cairo before heading for the Rafah Crossing. It is hoped to enter Gaza on Sunday 12th or Monday 13th July.

"The convoy comes at a vital time for the people of Gaza as the International Red Cross report issued earlier this week confirms. There are one and a half million people now living in dire poverty, unable to rebuild after the destruction of the war in January of this year. This is the effect of the siege of Gaza imposed by the Israeli government for the last year. In the latest twist former U.S. Green presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney and other human rights activists were seized by the Israeli navy as they sailed in the Spirit of Humanity with aid for Gaza."

The Viva Palestina website says,

"Fresh from the success of the Viva Palestina: Lifeline from Britain to Gaza aid convoy - which took over 100 vehicles to Gaza from the UK, Member of Parliament, George Galloway has linked up on his US tour with the Vietnam veteran and peace campaigner, Ron Kovic, to launch a similar, but even larger venture from the States.

"Galloway announced the initiative at a 1000-strong meeting in Anaheim, California, rounding off a packed-out, coast to coast speaking tour highlighting the Palestinian cause.

"There's a new atmosphere in the US over Palestine," says Galloway, "the phenomenal response to this tour demonstrates that."

"Ron Kovic, whose story was immortalized in Oliver Stone's Born on the Fourth of July, will be the co-leader of the convoy, which will travel from New York City to Egypt before making its way across the Rafah border into Gaza.

"Viva Palestina USA is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, but individuals and groups from across the nation are organizing locally to generate support for the convoy, which aims to raise $10 million for humanitarian aid and 500 vehicles with which to deliver the aid into Gaza.

"And what better day to head off," says Galloway, "Than July 4 - Independence Day!"

Registration to participate was open until June 20th, 2009, at midnight (CST).

Individuals and organizations wishing to participate were strongly encouraged to raise enough funds to purchase at least one vehicle in Egypt (approximately $15,000 USD)  in addition to covering the full expense of their travel.

Viva Palestina states, "As long as there is a siege in effect, Viva Palestina will break it. As long as there are people in need, Viva Palestina will provide humanitarian aid. As long as there are compassionate and generous people like you, Viva Palestina will organize to unite efforts to create visible change in the lives of the people of Gaza. "

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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)

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