Coordinator of the ‘Miles of Smiles’ convoys Dr Isam Yousif affirmed on Tuesday that efforts to break the international siege on the Gaza Strip would continue by all means.
Miles of Smiles refers to a series of international aid convoys that started to arrive in the besieged Gaza Strip starting in 2010. They come in line with other attempts to break the siege that Israel has imposed on the Strip since 2006 while the international community has stood idly by.
Speaking to Al-Quds TV, Yousif said: ‘Our aid convoys aiming to breaking the siege will continue. Even if we do not arrive in Gaza, our support to the projects in Gaza will not stop.’
Meanwhile, he called for more relief convoys to the Strip, and asked organisers to plan for breaking the siege by ground, sea and air.
Commenting on the situation in Egypt, since the convoys reach Gaza through Egypt, he said: ‘Sinai witnesses today a very dangerous situation.’ He continued: ‘Whatever changes may come, the Egyptian people will continue siding with the Palestinian cause.’
Yousif called for the Egyptian authorities to understand the true aim of the aid convoys: breaking the siege on Gaza.
He also denied that the Egyptian authorities have refused to allow new convoys affiliated with Miles of Smiles to enter to Gaza from Egypt.
‘We are in contact with the Egyptian authorities,’ he said, and ‘we have not faced any refusal to transport aid, even though our application was postponed.’
About the propaganda campaign against the Strip, he ruled out that Gaza had any role in the turmoil in Egypt. He affirmed that the aid convoys do not depend on who is ruling Egypt.
‘We, the convoys, do not care whom the ruler of Egypt or the Gaza Strip is,’ he said. ‘We stand against an oppressive siege against the Strip imposed by both Israel and the UN.’
In August 2012, the same Union of Good website reported that the 15th “Miles of Smiles” convoy was preparing for its trip to Gaza. in June 2012. the head of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood 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, plans were underway for three new convoys to break the “siege of Gaza.” In June 2011, Essam Yusuf (aka Issam Youssef, Essam Mustafa, Essam Youssef, Isam Yousif), the Managing Trustee of the INTERPAL and former head of the Union of Good, 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, authored by the GMBDW editor, 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 designated a terrorist entity by the United States in 2008. INTERPAL itself had been designated by the US in 2003. Our predecessor publication discussed the 2009 UK Charity Commission’s order that INTERPAL sever its ties with the Union of Good, likely only a formality given that Essam Yusuf, 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 by the GMBDW editor on the role of theGlobal Muslim Brotherhood in the first flotilla.