Viva Palestina Convoy Arrives In Gaza


Global media are reporting that a Viva Palestina Gaza land convoy arrived in the territory on Friday. According to one report:

Lifeline 5 aid convoy has added another crack to the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip by entering the enclave on Thursday, pro-Palestinian activists said.The mission has made “a real victory” by arriving smoothly in Gaza with the “symbolic” aid, said Kevin Ovenden, a member of the London-based Viva Palestina organization that sponsored the convoy. The convoy, made up of more than 140 vehicles loaded with some 500 tons of medical and food supplies, and escorted by some 400 pro-Palestinian activists, entered the Gaza Strip on Thursday, several hours after it docked in Egypt’s Mediterranean port of El- Arish. The blockade that Israel has imposed on Gaza since 2007 “has been politically collapsing,” Ovenden said, referring to an international outcry against the sanctions. The criticism mounted when Israeli commando forces killed nine activists on a Gaza-bound flotilla in May. Officials from the Islamic Hamas movement were at the Rafah crossing point, welcoming the convoy which carries aid worth 5 million U.S. dollars. The nearly 400 campaigners and the crowd that welcomed them chanted slogans greeting George Galloway, the former British lawmaker who sponsors the convoy. Egypt barred Galloway from entering its territories due to violent confrontations that happened when a previous convoy was passing. The convoy started its journey from London on Sept. 18. A ship had picked the aid from Syria and docked in Egypt. The campaigners said the majority of the aid was on the ship and needs at least two days to unload…..Ahmed Yousef, a Hamas official, said Israel’s relaxation of blockade “was untrue,” calling for more international and civilian attempts to challenge the closure. Meanwhile, the campaigners promised to send more missions to Gaza till the blockade is broken completely. Mohammed Sawalha, another activist, said another flotilla, bigger than the mission in May, would sail to Gaza within few months.

An earlier post discussed the departure of the convoy from London in September.

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 and UK Muslim Brotherhood 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.

The International Committee to Break the Siege of Gaza (ICBSG), known to be 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.

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