The aid convoy ‘Miles of Smiles 15’ is preparing to kick off heading to Gaza Strip, despite the continued closure of Rafah border crossing with Egypt since the 5th of this month. One of the convoy’s organizers , in a special statement, said that talks are going on between the convoy’s organizers and the Egyptian authorities to allow the entry of the convoy into Gaza Strip before the advent Eid-ul-Fitr ( end of Ramadan month). He noted that Dr. Issam Mustafa, the general coordinator of the convoy, is actually in Egypt heading the organizing delegation of ‘Miles of Smiles 15’ to follow up contacts with the Egyptian side and get the approval for the entry of this humanitarian convoy. He added that tens of solidarity activists from Arab and foreign countries are participating in this convoy, including : Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, UK, France, and Malaysia. The Convoy will be carrying quantities of humanitarian assistance, including missing medicine direly needed in Gaza pharmaceutical warehouses, in addition to medical supplies and equipment, as well as electric chairs for those with special needs. The convoy’s organizers expressed their hopes that stability would be restored in the Sinai area, and that the Rafah crossing would open again to put an end for this humanitarian ordeal affecting all life aspects in the besieged Gaza Strip for the six consecutive year. The Egyptian authorities have decided to close the border crossing of Rafah with Gaza, aftermath the last criminal attack that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers near the crossing. Meanwhile, some news agencies said that Maher Abu Sabha, general director of crossings and borders in Gaza, quoted Egyptian official sources as saying that the land port will be opened in both directions before Eid al-Fitr.
A post from June reported that the head of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood had called the arrival of the latest convoy to be “a new page of the Jihad against the occupation of the Palestinian territories.”
In August 2011, a 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.