A Union of Good Web site is reporting that preparations are under way for the 10th “Miles of Smiles ” Gaza convoy expected to arrive in April following the arrival of the 9th such convoy in Gaza this month. According to the report:
Dr. Issam Mustafa, chairman and general coordinator of the humanitarian aid convoy “Miles of Smiles 9” said that preparations have already started for organizing the 10th aid convoy under the slogan of “ breaking the sports siege of Gaza. He affirmed that the convoys of Miles of smiles would not stop until completely lifting the siege on all life sectors of the coastal enclave, the social, the economic, youth and sports. He added, while meeting with Minister of Youth and Sports of Gaza caretaker government Mohammad Al-Madhoun, that “ Miles of Smiles convoys will continue its pioneering role in the field of health, culture, youth and sports, as well as in other sectors”. He pointed “ our main objective is to contribute in breaking the Israeli siege imposed on Gaza inhabitants and to draw a smile on faces of Gaza children”. The new convoy will arrive to Gaza early next April to express solidarity with the Palestinian people through organizing a sports camp for youth with participation of 100 male and female from various nationalities, that includes cultural, sportive, and volunteering activities, beside visiting institutions and clubs. Dr. Mustafa explained that the sports camp will see the integration of Palestinian youth coming from various parts of Gaza with the youth of the convoy to hold youth twinning that supports cultural and sports activities in besieged Gaza. Convoys continuation : Dr. Mustafa said that the aid convoy “ Miles of Smiles 9” brought to Gaza tens of electrical wheelchairs for special needs , in addition to many items of missing medicine , and baby milk. He stressed that aid convoys to Gaza would continue to support the Palestinian people until breaking its siege, noting that the number of supporters is increasing in each time, and all participants expressed desire to play the role of Palestine ambassador once they go back home. He also explained that the previous nine convoys of Miles of Smiles that came to Gaza have greatly contributed in unmasking the Israeli occupation crimes, and its oppressive practices against the civilians, children, and women in Gaza. Dr.Mustafa elaborated that the previous convoys also contributed in shedding lights on the ugly practices of the occupation , and the impact of the ongoing and heinous Israeli blockade that savagely affected all life aspects of Gaza citizens. He concluded by underlining the importance strategic role played by these convoys in conveying a clear message to world community to refute the Israeli claims about easing the siege of Gaza. It’s worth mentioning that the “ Miles of Smiles 9” has arrived to Gaza last week through Rafah crossing companied by 200 solidarity activists from various Arab and foreign countries, and brought medicines, baby milk, besides electrical bicycles for special needs, and other relief.
In August 2011, an earlier post reported that plans were underway for three new convoys to break the “siege of Gaza.” Another post had reported that Issam Mustafa (aka Issam Youssef, Essam Mustafa, Essam Youssef), the Managing Trustee of the U.K. INTERPAL and former head of the Union of Good, had met at that time with the Hamas Prime Minister of Gaza in connection with an earlier Miles of Smiles convoy.
According to a NEFA Foundation report, INTERPAL is perhaps the most important of the charities comprising the Union of Good, a coalition of charities headed by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi which helps to raise funds for Hamas. The Union of Good was banned by Israel in 2002 and was recently designated a terrorist entity by the United State. INTERPAL itself had been designated by the US in 2003. Previous posts have discussed the UK Charity Commisison’s order that INTERPAL sever its ties with the Union of Good, likely only a formality given that Essam Mustafa, the former head of the Union of Good is still the Managing Trustee of Interpal. The U.S. has attempted to persuade the U.K. government to do something about INTERPAL but the U.K. appears reluctant to anything which in their view would further antagonize its Muslim population.
Generally unreported by the media is that the entire Gaza convoy movement is largely a project of the Global Muslim Brotherhood. The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) has published an article by Ehud Rosen on the role of the Global Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas in the unsuccessful second Gaza Flotilla prior to that, the JCPA published a report on the role of the GMB in the first flotilla.