A Union of Good website is reporting that Viva Palestina is what is describes as a “gigantic land convoy” to Gaza scheduled to leave on Saturday and time to coordinate with a larger sea flotilla to reach Gaza at the same time. According to the report:
Viva Palestina is launching “Viva Palestina 5” -, a gigantic land convoy leaves London on Saturday, 18th September in conjunction with convoys leaving from Casablanca and Doha and timed to coordinate with a larger and even more international flotilla aiming to reach Gaza by sea at the same time as the land convoys reach by land. The spokesperson of the convoy Zuhair Al-Birawi , in a statement said that a solidarity delegation representing a number of prominent figures arrived to London from New Zealand on Wednesday to join the convoy with three vehicles that they have bought and loaded with medical and humanitarian assistance to the benefit of Gaza people. Another Australian delegation consisting of 14 participants also reached London for the same purpose with seven buses carrying relief material to Gaza. Al-Birawi added that this the first time to see participants coming from New Zealand and Australia to participate in the international efforts to brake the siege of Gaza noting that Nikky Intes, an activist from New Zealand who already participated in Freedom Flotilla and was arrested by the Israelis for two days, is behind this participation as she exerted efforts to increase solidarity and support to the Palestinian cause in that part of the world. He explained that the total number of vehicles is 40 with around 80 solidarity participants and charity representatives mainly from UK, commonwealth countries, and Malaysia. The convoy is supposed to travel through Europe to Turkey, then to Latekia seaport to meet with delegations and vehicles coming from the Arab world, so that the total number of vehicles will reach 150 with 350 solidarity participants from 20 countries. He added that those participants with their vehicles will travel on board of a vessel to the Egyptian port of Al-Arish to reach Gaza Strip by the tenth of next October. Viva Palestina has organised three massive land convoys to Gaza in the last 18 months – all of which have delivered their aid – and participated in the latest flotilla. As a restult Viva Palestinas launching “Viva Palestina 5 – a global lifeline to Gaza”, a gigantic land convoy leaving London on Saturday, 18th September in conjunction with convoys leaving from Casablanca and Doha and timed to coordinate with a larger and even more international flotilla aiming to reach Gaza by sea at the same time as the land convoys reach by and. Viva Palestina will be leading the Land Convoy, a Global Lifeline To Gaza, working in partnership with the International Committee to Break the Siege on Gaza and organizations from Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Australasia, India, South Africa and more. The land convoy will be carrying medical equipment, educational supplies and the wherewithal to rebuild a destroyed mosque, a school for orphans and to construct a maternity facility in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza..
A previous post from July discussed the announcement of plans for Viva Palestina 5.
Viva Palestina is a UK registered charity associated which is currently under investigation by U.K. authorities and which is associated with its founder George Galloway, a long-time supporter of Palestinian causes. The organization has organized several convoys of humanitarian aid to Gaza including the first convoy where Galloway was reported to have handed cash and three cars to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyah and the second convoy where Galloway met again with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyah. Previous posts have discussed Galloway’s trips to the U.S. in conjunction with the convoys including a trip in March 2009 where he participated in a Northern Virginia fund-raising event in which Muslim American Society leader Mahdi Bray was also scheduled to appear.
Viva Palestina spokesman Zuhair Al-Birawi (aka aher Birawi) is also a director of the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) which has strong ties to the global Muslim Brotherhood. Arafat Madi (aka Arafat Madi Shoukri) is the the executive director of the PRC and also the chairman of the European Campaign to End the Siege On Gaza (ECESG), essentially the European Muslim Brotherhood front group for supporting the Gaza flotillas. The PRC has been the co-sponsor of several conferences in Europe associated with Hamas. For example, the PRC was the co-sponsor of the Sixth Palestinians In Europe Conference which featured Nihad Awad of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), former US. Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammad Akram Al-Adlouni, and Raed Salah, a leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel and close to Hamas. The 2009 conference was addressed via video link by Gaza Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. An Israeli web site, known to be close to Israeli military intelligence, has reported that Mr. Birawi, along with another PRC Trustee, are “past Hamas operatives who found refuge in Britain in the early nineties.”
The International Committee to Break the Siege of Gaza (ICBSG), identified as part of the Viva Palestina flotilla, is a Hamas front organization led by Mohammad Sawalha, its Vice-President. The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC) has published a profile of Hamas activist and U.K. Muslim Brotherhood leader Muhammad Kazem Sawalha, describing him as follows:
Muhammad Kazem Sawalha is a senior Hamas activist who publicly supports jihad and was formerly involved in both political and operational Hamas activities in Judea and Samaria, including running the terrorist operative infrastructure. He was wanted by the Israeli security services but in October 1990 used forced documents to escape to Jordan, and from there went to Britain. In Britain he has been involved in intensive anti-Israeli activities within the Islamic community, with the Muslim Brotherhood and with British organizations providing support for the de facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip.
The ITIC report goes on to discuss Mr. Sawalha’s numerous ties to the Global Muslim Brotherhood.
Previous posts have reported on the pivotal role played by the Global Muslim Brotherhood in the Gaza flotilla.