Land, sea convoys to head for Gaza in September 16Aug10 August 17, 2010

Palestine Note -  16 August 2010

Pro-Palestinian activist group Viva Palestina has announced an overland aid convoy will take off for the blockaded Gaza Strip Sept. 18 in coordination with other international seabound aid convoys.

According to the Viva Palestina website:

“Viva Palestina 5 – a global lifeline to Gaza”, a gigantic land convoy [will leave] London on Saturday, 18th September in conjunction with convoys leaving from Casablanca and Doha and [is] timed to coordinate with a larger and even more international flotilla aiming to reach Gaza by sea at the same time as the land convoys reach by land.

Viva Palestina will be leading the Land Convoy, a Global Lifeline To Gaza, working in partnership with the International Committee to Break the Siege on Gaza and organisations from Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Australasia, India, South Africa and more.

Saturday 18 September will certainly be the first clear Saturday after the month of Ramadan. We are aiming, with the two other legs of the land convoy, to take 500 vehicles with aid to Gaza carrying medical equipment, educational supplies and the wherewithal to rebuild a destroyed mosque, a school for orphans and to construct a maternity facility in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza. We will be supporting the international flotilla that is scheduled for the same time.

Viva Palestina flotilla

The group has a flotilla of its own in the works, but a concrete date has not yet been determined:

Viva Palestina is also planning to support a new flotilla of aid ships to Gaza. No date has yet been fixed, but the organisations that brought together the Freedom Flotilla in May plus others are hopeful that it will coincide with the land convoys arriving in October.

A flotilla which will be stronger even than the great achievement in May will require a massive fundraising effort. And, as then, space aboard will necessarily be very limited. We hope to make a significant contribution to this initiative while building up a wide, international coalition of support for the land convoys, which are now underway.

Viva Palestina founder George Galloway wrote of his confidence in such challenges to the blockade of Gaza in a Friday letter to London’s Morning Star:

Putting aside the intricate diplomacy, the point for all friends of Palestine is surely this – we are at a moment when pressure can be brought to bear as never before to frustrate Israel’s moves to crush the Palestinians and impose a series of semi-sovereign bantustans.

So the Viva Palestina convoy heading off on September 18 comes at a crucial point. It will leave in three co-ordinated legs to deliver aid to Gaza from London, Casablanca and Doha. It aims to sustain the momentum to lift the siege on Gaza, now condemned by the EU, UN, many governments and every major international aid agency.

The direct challenge to this criminal policy is also generating a far wider base of support for isolating Israel in the way that apartheid South Africa was isolated. A movement of the size, scope and moral force of the anti-apartheid movement is now a real possibility. There will be further initiatives this autumn, building on the work done by established campaigns, trade unions, churches, mosques and others. Watch this space.

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