Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, September 2008
Egyptian government prevents humanitarian convoy from entering Gaza, Free Gaza Movement calls for alleviating suffering
Egyptian government blocks 10th of Ramadan caravan from proceeding to Gaza
[ 11/09/2008 - 01:39 AM ]
The Egyptian governmenet stopped Wednesday an Egyptian caravan comprising many activists and political parties' members from proceeding to the besieged Gaza Strip, participants in the caravan confirmed.
The caravan was organized by the Egyptian popular committee for breaking the Gaza siege, but the Egyptian authorities stopped the four buses of the caravan at a custom checkpoint at the Egyptian city of Ismailiya.
But the organizers appeared determined to proceed with their plan, asserting that more caravans will be mobilized to the besieged Gaza Strip in a bid to break the unjust economic blockade.
"Before we reached the Ismailiya, the Egyptian security forces closed the road, and confiscated the drivers' licenses, explaining that more than 150 activists were waiting at the roadside chanting pro-Palestinian slogans", said Badr Mohammed, the spokesman of the influential Muslim Brotherhood group in Egypt.
But he pointed out that a second caravan was expected to proceed to Gaza Strip late Wednesday.
According to the participants in the caravan, the Egyptian authorities were stopping all vehicles along the Ismailiya route, and check identities of the passengers before asking them about their final destination.
The Egyptian popular step comes a couple of weeks after two foreign boats carrying European human rights activists succeeded in breaking the Israeli siege on Gaza, and anchored off Gaza shores in strong challenge to the Israelis.
The two foreign boats constituted a ray of hope to the 1.5 million Palestinian individuals besieged in the tiny Strip, spurring them to renew calls on their Arab brothers to take the initiative in breaking the siege.
Officials of the Palestinian popular committee for the lifting of the siege on Gaza announced it was preparing a big official and popular reception for the Egyptian caravan.
Head of the committee MP Dr. Jamal Al-Khudari disclosed that the committee had, in advance, prepared a program for the visiting Egyptian caravan to tour Gaza Strip, and to see for themselves the extent of the tragedy in Gaza.
Khudari also urged other Arab and Muslim countries to take similar steps against the Israeli economic sanctions on the Palestinian people.
For his part, Hamas's spokesman in Gaza Strip Fawzi Barhoum considered the Egyptian popular mobilization as a step in the right direction, and that it was defending the Egyptian-Palestinian sovereignty over the Rafah crossing point .
But Barhoum regretted the blocking of the caravan, describing the Egyptian official behavior as "an insult to the feeling of the Palestinian people in Gaza Strip, and clear undermining to the feeling of the Egyptian and Arab populace".
He added that the blocking of the caravan comes amidst an unexplainable silence on the part of the international community towards Israel's crimes against humanity in Gaza Strip.
Arab foreign ministers had convened more than a year ago, and unanimously decided to rescind the economic siege on Gaza, and of considering the Gaza Strip as "disaster area", but the Arab states failed to carry out their decisions till now.
Barhoum: denying entry of an Egyptian convoy into Gaza an 'irresponsible action
The ruling Hamas party in Gaza slammed on Thursday the Egyptian
authorities for preventing access of a solidarity convoy into Gaza,
branding it 'irresponsible action'.
In a session of the European Parliament's Delegation to the
Palestinian Legislative Council (DPLC), the Free Gaza Movement (FGM),
called upon the international community to join the Movement's efforts
to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian population of Gaza, due to
a 'strangulating' Israeli blockade.
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