Saturday, 6 February 2010

Breaking the siege of Gaza

The people of Gaza have been subjected to a brutal economic blockade. The situation is so bad Israel's actions were described in the United Nations-sponsored Goldstone report as a form of ‘collective punishment’ against the entire population.

The recent Viva Palestina convoy successfully broke that blockade last month. And I am proud of them for doing so. They brought over 500 people from 17 countries and 250 trucks and ambulances full of humanitarian supplies like generators, baby milk and medicine to the besieged Gaza strip. In the process they incurred the wrath of the Mubarak dictatorship in Egypt, who have a long history of collusion in the oppression of the Palestinians. Egyptian police brutally attacked the convoy, the Egyptian government expelled its leader, George Galloway, who has been banned from the country, and they have announced they will not allow any more aid convoys travel on their soil either.

Well, as Tony Blair discovered, George is not a man easily silenced or intimidated. His response to the ban was to say he will be back to celebrate in the streets of Cairo with the Egyptian people when Mubarak and his torturers are gone! And already he has put in motion plans for the next convoy. This time it will be by sea. Viva Palestina has huge support in Turkey and negotiations are underway for a flotilla of ships from all over the world to sail from Turkey, with the support of the Turkish government, and under its flag. I fully intend to be going with them.