DAYS 19-21: Amman to Aqaba

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NEWS FROM THE ROAD...

Day 21 – Saturday Dec 26 ’09

NEWS! Al Jazeera: Gaza aid convoy awaits Egypt nod… & Egypt urged to allow Gaza aid… plus, a little flashback, PressTV’s report on the arrival in Syria:


ALMOST NEWS! New York Times with 123 words on some story or the other…

10pm:

Sitting on the beach underneath an upside down half moon. Trying to comprehend the pain of exile. Palestine shines opposite. – @Pal_S_Campaign

Heard few people have been turned away at CAI airport, fear of them participating in Freedom March. It’s ridiculous how EGY Has become battle ground when focus should be on Israel! – @juanajaafar

Will be on hunger strike in protest of Egypt’s refusal to let us pass into Gaza from tomorrow, 11.25am. Egypt are still refusing to let us through to Gaza. Keep up the PRESSURE – call the Egyptian Embassies across the world and complain! @Fio_edwards

NEWS! Jordan Times: Egypt refuses entry to Gaza convoy through Red Sea port

Ded 25-26: Jordan Times – click for PDF

9pm:

Many of us now chuckin at a cafe with wifi, eating. Hope we get some good news tomorrow. Can’t go on hanging about like this. Help us move forward. Pls write to your local media tell them bout the convoy, probs. Also please write to the EGY embassy in your country – @juanajaafar

BLOG! @YorktoGaza: Appeal for action and news of Heather’s hospital stay in Aqaba. She is recovering ok.

8pm:

Convoy members to start hunger strike tomorrow in protest at egypt’s refusal. How has it come to this? Where is humanity?@Pal_S_Campaign

still in akaba….no sign of approval by the Egyptian govt yet. Hopefully there’s a compromise on both sides soon. – @PGPOrg

Am with some convoy folk going through various statements sent out by members. A letter said we have no access to food: NOT TRUE. Locals Have been very kind. We get free lunch and dinner at our meeting point if we don’t wanna eat out. Also running tea. Tho we can’t go on Like that. Hospitality may run out eventually and we don’t like freeloading. Need to get on boat pronto and get job done! – @juanajaafar

7pm:

There’s a crew here shooting a movie called Picnic in Gaza. Travelling with the convoy + actors. Gonna be an indy one bout some youngsters Who joined the convoy in GBR in an old VW van. Van not here tho, they shooting final scenes. Film inspired by actual story re Brit boy who Joined last convoy. PGPO ambulance cameo! – @juanajaafar

6pm:

O Pharao, let my people go (to Gaza to deliver aid which is now sitting in Aqaba due to Egyptian intransigence)…! My daughter in UK has been diagnosed with swine-flu. We pray that she will get medication to help relieve her symptoms…Swine flu is also rampant in Gaza. Viva Palestina Aid Convoy has vehicles packed with medications to help the children of Gaza…Convoy has been stranded in Aqaba for 2 days. Aid and much needed medication can reach Gaza in 12 hours. Why must Egypt prevent us?? Is the health and life of a child in Gaza worth less than that of my own child in UK? – @Zhat *PHOTOS!*

BLOG! CorktoGaza: “Stranded in Jordan…” & via @juanajaafar: “The Story You’re Not Reading About- The London to Gaza Convoy

British volunteers not allowed 2 deliver aid 2 children of Gaza at Xmas time. Why are Pope + weather top stories? Complain!! – @Joti2Gaza

The sun sets on Palestine. Sigh ... – @juanjaafar

CALL EGYPT: 07531 419 393 020-7499-3304

5pm:

Viva Palestina is requesting EVERYONE to phone the Egyptian Consulate on 07531 419 393 to allow aid through to Gaza via the Rafah crossing. – @Fio_edwards

Medicine going to waste in stranded vehicles in Jordan – Sakir Bristol – @viva_palestina

PRESS RELEASE! Bristol Gaza Link:

Dec 26: Bristol convoy members say will join hunger strike to reach Gaza

NEWS! Roundup from Aqaba…

Press TV updates…


Egypt Blocks Viva Convoy

GG Condemns Egypt Blocking Convoy

Press TV: Gazans Protest Continued Siege, Egyptian Steel Wall and the Aid Convoy Blockage

BLOGS!

Joti2Gaza: “Deserts, delays and Christmas cheer

TheSitch: “Miles From Gaza: Part 1” with VIDEO!

MEMO: “Egypt still refusing entry

AROUND THE WEB…

World Bulletin: Gaza convoy resolute to break Israel siege despite Egypt refusal

The Indypendent: Gaza Freedom Marchers undeterred by Egyptian government

Bradford Telegraph: Mercy mission from Bradford with 45 volunteers is set to cross the border from Egypt to Gaza

ReliefWEB: Egypt says Gaza-bound aid convoys should abide by access mechanism

Arab Monitor, mentions the Convoy and a worrying effect of the new Egyptian–Gaza steel wall on Gaza’s farm land: Demonstrations against Egypt’s steel wall and deadly salt-water pipe system

Londonderry Sentinel: Londonderry men stuck at Egyptian border

Al Jazeera: Egypt urged to allow Gaza aids

#GFM: Standing in the Sun in Gaza

Al-Ahram Weekly: Beyond the Wall & Message: break the siege

ISM: Open letter to President Mubarak from the Gaza Freedom March

Gulf News: United by hope from a broad front

IHH: Gaza convoy reaches Aqaba port & IHH Pres: “No turning back

VIDEO! Al Jazeera Arabic report… & Malaysian crew: from the eyes of my little camera…

CODEPink & GFM letter to the Mubarak’s…

A Letter to Her Excellency, Madame Suzanne Mubarak…

Open letter to President Mubarak from GFM

12pm:

StNicholas’Ch last nite, Steve, Mike & I sang Ltl Tn of Beth 2 Steve Leah’s words: apartheid walls etc. Abt 50 still small voices in th dark – @YorktoGaza

11am:

Heard the Jdn Prof Assn may have demo at Egypt embassy Amman. Not sure when. Also world-wide demos, all nations with people on convoy – @YorktoGaza

10am:

guess where i am? uhuh. still in Aqaba. zZzZzZzzz … if Moses [PBUH] were here, he’d split the Red Sea and say “move along now peaceful lambs …”. or at least that’s how i wanna imagine it. @juanajaafar

Still in Aqaba. Flip side of being frustrated here is that lots of publicity is being garnered.. and the focus is on siege of Gaza.Thats … Egypt declares convoy is political, not humanitarian. Egypt confirms Israel is angered n asks Turkey to mind own business. Turkish ppl in Istanbul to respond by laying siege to Egyptian Embassy. War of words ratcheting up. Today will be decisive. @Zhat

3am:

Busy day writing press releases + updates etc. Brothers to prayers, all comers to church. Xmas party on the beach after dark. No news from Egypt 2day. Diplomatic efforts contine. #georgegalloway: we’ll never coordinate with/ask permission from Israel! – @Joti2Gaza

2am:

spent Christmas Day on a beach in Aqaba (Jordan)gazing over the red sea to occupied Palestine. Stuck in Aqaba with Viva Palestina convoy – along with 400 volunteers, 200 vehicles and hundreds of tons aid that we intend to take to Gaza. The Egyptian government will not let us sail to Egypt and reach Gaza; please put pressure on the Egyptians to let us pass. Phone the Egyptian Embassy to wish them a Merry Christmas, happy new year and ask them to allow us to take medicine to the children of Gaza. – @Fio_edwards

1am:

Boxing Day. tomorrow marks anni of Israel’s siege on Gaza. if you’re blogging about it, please share with me your link! – @juanajaafar

No such meeting took place,we’re told there will be one 2moro @10am. We’ll be staying in hotels that are given free of charge. – @l2g09

Day 20 – Friday Dec 25 ’09

Send as an eCard & Spread the Egypt Embassy Contact Info!

Send an eCard & CALL THE EGYPTIANS & WISH THEM A MERRY XMAS…

9pm:

Its awful isn’t it, it makes no sense 2me . Why would anyone stop giving aid 2 those who desperately need it. – @crookedrib

Palestinian jordanians keep arriving at our car park to join the convoy. Others to donate money. We MUST get to Gaza… Prime ministers of turkey and malaysia speaking personally to mubarak, asking him to let us in. Maybe tomorrow? – @Pal_S_Campaign

8pm:

we’re in Akaba, waiting for egyptians to allow us into the country. pls spread message and put pressure on egypt govt – @PGPOrg

7pm:

santa … Group singing Silent Night, Holy Night holding placards appealing to go Gaza. So sad … Vicar receives convoy Xmasers stranded in Aqaba@juanajaafar

We are free until 10 am torrow, got a hotel a dew blocks away so I will be comfybronight.. Glloway asked the King & queen of Jordan to contact Egypt Hosne Mubaric .. current Prime Minister of Turkey is working dilplomatic chnnela in Egypt.. Galloway said that former Prime Minister of Turkey has called Efypt President Hosne Mubarak to ask for safe passage. – @Tmctguer

Other intermediaries that may not distribute aid fairly or distribute to PLE “refugees”. Convoy does not recognise PLE “refugees”, to us PLE Are sovereign people who should be able to receive aid directly by anyone. Redirecting convoy to another entry point is out of question esp… If the entry point controlled by Israel. We do not recognise Israeli autho and will not negotiate with them. The main hantu is Israel and whatev nonsense EGY is pulling, they are only playing subordinate to Israel. – @juanajaafar

6pm:

At group meet with Galloway, said convoy was headline news in Al-Jazz. Said aid must be delivered directly to Gazans. We’re not gonna work – @juanajaafar

Galloway said that former Prime Minister of Turkey has called Efypt President Hosne Mubarak to ask for safe passage. current Prime Minister of Turkey is working dilplomatic chnnela in Egypt.. Galloway said that former Prime Minister of Turkey has called Efypt President Hosne Mubarak to ask for safe passage. – @Tmctguer

5pm:

Day dealing w Egypt’s blow 2 convoy progress York radio & e-mails texts & calls home. Hope talks will unblock Red Sea… Wine & friends now – @YorktoGaza

Still in aqaba. We can see palestine across the water, beautiful hazy mountains, so close you can almost touch them – @Pal_S_Campaign

4pm:

We are still stranded in Aqaba. We’ve been advised to check into hotels nearby. Still trying to bargain with EGY to let us sail. Meanwhile Israel having a good laugh, patting EGY on the back. I really feel so so so sorry for the PLEs … – @juanajaafar

Still waitin4news,we’ve got a meeting@6pm to be briefed on the the lastest.Here in Aqaba we can see Israel in the distance,what a disgrace! – @l2g09

3pm:

Outrageous :humanitarian aid convoy denied entry to Egypt. Unjust and disgraceful. – @viva_palestina

BLOG! Christmas message from YorktoGaza

FACT! B4 Israeli blockade #Gaza exported >130,000 tons/yr tomatoes, peppers, flowers, strawberries. Today Zero. – @avinunu

2pm:

Kipped on donated floor last nite. Now checked in2 local hotel. Hope 2 leave, but prepared 2 stay. Mobilising all for #Gaza! – @Joti2Gaza

NEWS! Press TV: Galloway raps Egypt for stopping Gaza aid convoy

12pm:

Fri prayers in Aqaba. Locals aware convoy has problems with passage to Egypt. Still no news of change of heart from egpt consulate. – @YorktoGaza

11am: RADIO! Gaga: Listen to BBC Radio York interview…

FANTASTIC BROADCAST ON BBC RADIO YORK! Love from all the team at home. Thanks to Elly Fiorentini! – @YorktoGaza

EGY gov taking limelight from Israel. All eyes should be on Israel, not EGY. But by denying us from sailing, pressure now on EGY. Kevin said we still have time to get to Rafah in time but need to move by tomorrow. Rafah is 4 hour boatride and 4 hour drive away. – @juanajaafar

10am: Meeting

A sunny xmas day in aqaba as we wait for news from egypt. All sat outside in the car park of a mosque. Spirits are high. When contacting egyptian embassy, please stress your disappointment. Not anger, hostility or rudeness. Thanks – @Pal_S_Campaign

Embassy/consulate back home and urge them to let us through. It’s winter, Gazans need supplies. Have some f-ing mercy for God’s sakes! – @juanajaafar

Chap at Egyptian consulate sounds tired! Ring 020 7235 9777 There is another number at the end of the Arabic message. Be polite & concerned. Egypt is not letting convoy through, Impasse. Christmas Day – difficult 2 contact embassies, foreign office etc. Publicise wherever you can…. Peace on earth, goodwill to all. The powers conspire to make us think that Gaza does not count – @YorktoGaza

Viva Palestina convoy latest….stuck in Aqaba as Egyptian gov claim they need Israeli permission to open Rafah border. – @Grant69

At rally point waiting 4 news. If we R unable to Nter Egypt, I thnk we should drive aid back to Turkey and hand it off to IHH to distribute. Thinking of alternate plans to return to US in case this ends in Aqabqh……maybe fly to Istanbul or Cairo? Then to Vienna? Plan B…..hmm – @Tmctguer

9am: XMAS Mourning?… As Convoy heads into town for briefing, unconfirmed reports of how Egypt broke the news last night:

… at 8:30pm tonight, December 24, 2009, the Egyptian Foreign Minister said on Egyptian TV Channel 2, that neither the Gaza Freedom March nor persons accompanying the Viva Palestina convoy would be allowed to enter Gaza. – READ MORE…

Xmas morning, still waiting for news on what’s happening next. You guys out there, please help us move on. Please write, call, fax the EGY – @juanajaafar

Irbid Cmas morning and we are going into Aqabah via bus. Not sure what for yet. Probably a group mtg. Slept well last nite !! My Xmas present was a 2 pack of Starburst candy and 1 piece of candy. Got it just after midnight! – @Tmctguer

12am: Maritime Xmas postponed, Jordanian Xmas all round! Keep the Faith(s) Convoy!

Egypt has told us we can’t enter the country, so we’re stuck in the jordanian port town of aqaba until mubarak relents. – @Pal_S_Campaign

It’s is officially Xmas here, so Merry Xmas everyone from Aqabqh Jordon! Well, the ferry ride was nixed by Egypt. So we are sleeping. Here tonight. w/o ferry, we can’t enter Egypt from Aqabqh. – @Tmctguer

Egyptian consulate in Aqaba refused entry 2 convoy: say we need Israeli permission! Galloway: we’ll stay here as long as nec. Rally and food in Aqaba. Galloway: we come in peace, but we will not be moved. The siege must be broken. – @Joti2Gaza

Day 19 – Thursday Dec 24 ’09

CONVOY PASSED 1,000,000 VIEWS IN 18 DAYS!

11pm: Unplanned night stop in Aqaba…

It is 1125pm and some of us are getting ready to tuck in in our vehicles at the parking lot near the port of Aqaba. All PGPO members + Bernama crew are together here, some already dozed off in their vehicles. We were supposed to board a ferry to EGY tonight but as we expected, the ferry co. been told not to let us board. We are not sure if we will have another ferry option tomorrow, will wait for orgs to Inform us in morn. So this is it, we’re now 1 day off schedule because we not on boat tonight. And our Christian friends will be waking up To glum Xmas morning. It’s unarmed civil society aid mission v. the might of Israel and its Arab-Muslim stooges. Goodnight and Merry Xmas From us in Aqaba, JOR. May peace be upon you. – @juanajaafar

A Man, A Plan, A Canal – Panama Suez!

Do the Math: Nuweiba or El-Arish?

Egypt’s proposed re-route would add 500+ miles to the journey.

PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL EMBASSY!

10pm: Looks like the 2nd AFP press release was accurate:

“Glwy confirms egypt will not allow convoy on ferry tonite at least. Convoyers have been seperated from vehicles. Ladies sleeping in mosques.” – @Zhat

“Egypt says Viva Palestina must sail to El Arish on Med-practically impossible. Easy route is Aqaba to Nuweiba, but Egypt says no.” – @avinunu

9pm: Border blues…. but will be on TV tonight: Al Jazeera streams live online: English stationArabic station

Check al-jazeera tonite for live hour by hour updates on developments from convoy re entry or no entry into egypt. – @Zhat

Galloway is til negiating. I’ll bet we ain’t riding no ferry night…. I went back to the bus and slept for about 1 hour. I went back to the rally, found some food, and found out what is going on. – @Tmctguer

Sittin in Aqaba waitin2find out wots hapnin,rumours are we’re not boarding ferry2nite,ferry company unda pressure not2let us board! – @l2g09


Atmospheric footage of the Amman ‘roadblock’ from Monica @BGLINK

NEWS! Confusion reigns… AFP reports that Egyptian MFA spokesman Hossam Zaki said: “no entry from Nuweiba. Entry can only be through El-Arish,” (1100GMT) & then there’s this press release…

RADIO! Something to listen to while stuffing the bird… YorktoGaza will be on BBC … we’ll pause & let that sink in … … … … Radio York on XMAS morning on the Elly Fiorentini show! Tune in online at the iPlayer or on the wireless at 103.7 FM, 104.3 FM, 95.5 FM… should be around ~9.10am. Listen here…

8pm: Speeches reveal more of Egypt’s plans…

Both. Glway speeches n rallies underway. Turks r fab n putting much diplmtc prsr on Egypt. Mahatir Md former Malaysia also heavily involved… Entry into Gaza on 27th looking shaky. Egyptians want to win the staring out game. Will be damaging to Egpt if they do delay 27th entry! Planned ferry xing from Aqaba to Egypt for later tonite has turned into full cloak n dagger affair! Not sure IF xing will happen tday/tmrw.@Zhat

BLOGS! 2 posts about GFM & Convoy, Canada’s Rabble: There are reasons not to be pessimistic: Egypt blinks & from South Africa’s Mail and Guardian: The world stands by as Gaza starves

7pm: Looking across the water and Church closed for Xmas…

Arrived in Aqabah, not sure if I will get a chance2update blog. A lot of heresay as2what will happen,can only wait and see,ferry leaving 1am! – @l2g09

WTF, How did we end up at a political rally in Aqaba?! – @juanajaafar

Listening to speeches, tired and hungry, found church will ask for 4 milk & bread. Bad news Church shut!!! – Sakir@Bristol

Greetings of Blessed Night to those who have travelled closer to Holy Land yet r being denied entry just as the Holy Family was 2000yrs … In port city of Aqaba. Across the gulf can be seen the lights of israeli tourist resort of Eilat. Warmest Xmas eve likely to be experienced! – @Zhat


Press TV report on the arrival in Jordan

6pm: Aqaba arrival…

10 km fr Aqaba Being bussed to a reception Hope to board ferry abt 1 am… Team send Xmas greetings to all at home … In huge demonstration in Aqaba. Tremendous support. Very moving. – @YorktoGaza

4pm: Divinely stunning…

We’re out of Amman and driving on clear dersert road to Aqabah. So far so good but still few hundred km to go. Still driving through desert. Saw a long orange trian chugging way yonder in flat sand. Quite cool. Convoy did have chance to stop for loo. Sun is slowly going down on JOR desert, nicw shadows on sand hills. Soon it’ll be cold. Earlier had people’s rception outside Ma’an I think… Passing through Wadi Rum. The landscape is Divinely stunning. Really humbling … – @juanajaafar

12pm: ‘interesting’

Just stopped on the road to aqaba for a wonderful desert reception thrown by the tribal heads of karak. – @Pal_S_Campaign

Real desert with proper sand dunes! Driving south 2 Akaba. 270km 2 go. Hot, hot, hot. Army escort. Big guns. Best behaviour. – @Joti2Gaza

On road to port of Aqaba to catch ferry to Egypt later tonite.Weather is baking hot as we drive thru desert Jordan has been ‘interesting’. – @Zhat

Side door just came off riot van as we sped off at top speed… back on and on our way! – @linsayc

ACTION! Janice from YorktoGaza got a letter in the Guardian! – that makes an impressive 64 ‘Gaza’ stories in The Guardian in the last 30 days! BUT, what’s not so impressive is that there’s not a single mention of the Convoy… apart from Janice’s letter today. WELL DONE! YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO! follow in Janice’s footsteps… – it worked with Egypt.

11am: In Karak already with that ‘Galawi’ guy… plus another new Tweeter! @l2g09

In Karak at a gathering to welcome George Galawi and the convoy! In the words of the Jordanians “Gazans are stronger than the steel embargos” – @linsayc

We are leaving Amman now what a mission! Chaos with such a big convoy. Heading towards Egypt. – @l2g09

NEWS! Press TV: Galloway to Cairo: Open gates for Viva Palestina

10am: Kings’ Highway South…

Heading 4 #Akaba now. All things being equal. we shd b boarding the ferry to #Egypt soon after midnight. Christmas on a boat! – @Joti2Gaza

On the Kings Highway heading towards Karak for a reception with Palestinian Refugee Families. – @linsayc

9am: On the move, s-l-o-w-l-y…

Now leaving Amman – heading for ferry at Aqaba – @YorktoGaza

Convoy is slowly moving off from amman, ambulance sirens flashing, one long snaking line through the capital. – @Pal_S_Campaign

Finally on the move through Amman, police escort but moving very slowly! – @linsayc


VIDEO!
& interviews from Convoy’s arrival in Jordan via Aramram TV

BLOG! Another Convoy-blogger we’ve missed! @Peter2Gaza – Peter has some great details of the arrival in Amman and earlier snippets from Turkey and Syria.

BBC! Great series of emails back & forth between BBC & Media Lens… – this is what we’re up against! So, did you call?

6am: Early start to Aqaba…

Another early start! Off to Aquaba today to get a ferry to Egypt. – @linsayc

BLOGS! BLOGS! BLOGS! Joti2Gaza’s 2nd entry from the road (includes 12 more road ‘tips’) / YorktoGaza has 7 updates with pics / @TheSitch has two updates from Adriano with pics from the ‘street carnival’ in Amman…

Joti2Gaza: Turkish delights on the road to Damascus…

YorktoGaza: from Gaziantep to Jordan…

TheSitch: Crunch Time (Turkey to Jordan) & The Last Leg (Jordan, Egypt and beyond)

2am: Leaving Amman with a better feeling…

Fine hospitality in #Amman. Hotel accom, food etc. Lots of press and rallies 2day. Much love from Palestinian community. – @Joti2Gaza

Overwhelmed by amazing support for the Viva Palestina Convoy. Thousands of people from Jordan joined convoy members at rally in Amman today. Looking forward to an early start tomorrow. We have many more miles to go until we reach our final destination – Gaza on 27th Dec – @Fio_edwards

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