DAY 32+1&2: GAZA

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NEWS FROM THE ROAD...

Day 32+2 – Friday Jan 8 2010

Dear Egypt: Attacking, Arresting & Deporting Humanitarians is Wrong.

NEWS! Latest reports from Press TV:

@1500GMT – GG at LHR + 8min reel… @1200GMT – Vehicle handover in Gaza

11pm:

Left gracious hospitality of Gaza to detention in Egypt. Being bused to Cairo – lots stops middle no-where. Psycho[logical] warfare … Hope to get flight anywhere away from Israel’s puppet [received by text from bus so signal no longer jammed as in Rafah] Moving again. I think all 5 coaches together. Not allowed out for toilet. Driver says 6 hrs Cairo. Reason 4 delay One coach broke down but now fixed & racing along dual carriageway. Surrounded by Turks in coach so feel v safe… – @YorktoGaza

VIDEO! BBC* a News website: Aid reaches Gaza after protests (*notice that they don’t use the name of the Viva Palestina Convoy)

10pm:

New bus just came to rescue. Armed personnel outside, facing away from us [as tho to snipe anyone coming our way. General public wanting to show love maybe?] We’re still hours more from Cairo. zZzZzZz … – @juanajaafar

9pm: Arafah!

Straight to airport. Travel time from Rafah to Cairo is bout 5-6 hours. Our embassy guys showed up at Rafah but EGY insist we board the bus to airport@juanajaafar

8pm: En-route to Cairo Airport…

Cleared thru egypt border without incident. On bus to Cairo Airport but no idea what plans there! Maybe all to be flown to Istanbul? – @Zhat

Straight to airport. Travel time from Rafah to Cairo is bout 5-6 hours.@juanajaafar

QUOTE OF THE DAY! “We will continue to offer consular assistance to anyone who needs it.” CLARIFICATION OF THE DAY!

FCO Consular Assistant: “UK consul in Egypt is 6hrs away from Rafah, so they made decision not to go there…”

YorktoGaza’s caller pointed out that the Convoy has been on buses waiting for more than 6 hours & that Malaysian authorities had managed to provide help to their Citizens.

UK consul knew the Malaysians had helped and were now on their way home. However, they had not gone to Rafah to help their UK citizens. York home team now contacting all possible local and national media with details of lack of UK consular assistance in Cairo-calling for help…@YorktoGaza

Deputy Head of Mission Jon Davies & Ambassador Dominic Asquith

@Zhat’s alert that they were being threatened at the hotel came at 7am GMT & our Tweet to CALL! the FCO was sent TEN+ hours ago…

IRONY! Ambassador Asquith’s latest blog entry is entitled: “Do as you would be done by” … we can safely say the Convoy was ‘done by’ the FCO & Consular Officials over the last few days. OK, you know what to do, next time it could be YOU… CALL FCO: 020 7008 1500

UPDATE! Read what happens when Malaysian’s call their Consular officials in Cairo…

6pm: Malaysians on the move…

Our batch just getting our passports sorted. All the Msians are moving together, including The Malaysian Student@juanajaafar

POLITICS! Birmingham Respect Statement on GG’s Deportation

5pm: Still there… sounds like everyone will be sent to Cairo airport and deported en masse…

We are STILL at the border. Sigh… 1 batch of convoy mbers are on their way to CAI airport. We’re sitting between PLE and EGY, have not even gotten our passports checked.@juanajaafar

NEWS! AJE: Egypt deports UK MP George Galloway & Press TV interview with George Galloway on forced return to London on BA154 (34mins late):

@1600GMT – Press TV interview at LHR @1500GMT – SKY News Interview at LHR

4pm: Siege mentality… ;)

Was so hungry that i just ate a CHICKEN shawarma knowing that it was chicken! Looks like we will have to wait for few hrs yet. @Zhat

BREAKING NEWS! Maan: Galloway exits Gaza, deported from Egypt + Galloway is persona non grata AND Egypt will “also put all the convoy members on the black list after they leave.”

@1400GMT – GG & LIVE at Rafah #2 & #1 @1000GMT – Hassan’s report from Gaza

Dear Egypt: Attacking, Arresting & Deporting Humanitarians is Wrong.

3pm: Passing through Queuing at Rafah…

boarding buses to egy side of rafah, not sure wot2expect,palestinians fed us b4 we left mashaAllah bcoz they know we wont get fed by egyptians – @l2g09

We’ve just boarded our bus and bout to take a short drive to the EGY side of Rafah border. Hope everything goes smoothly @juanajaafar

NEWS! York Press: North Yorkshire aid workers reach Gaza after nightmare trip & Al Ahram: The battle for Gaza & Malaysia’s Bernama: Convoy Bids Farewell As They Complete Their Mission

12pm: Convoy members at Rafah…

Kevin briefing. Said we’re at border earlier than planned today because of the bombings last night and to deal with the intended arrests. Kevin confirms that Galloway was deported from EGY; now urging mbers and their friends, family to engage with own Foreign Ministries

Mbers will be at border for quite a while as orgs does headcount and organises mbers into groups. Kevin urges mbers not to be provoked… There’s a chance mbers exit from EGY may be in form of formal deportation and not visitor’s departure @juanajaafar

RELATIVES! CALL THE FCO & REQUEST DIPLOMATIC ESCORT TO ENSURE SAFE PASSAGE OF CONVOY.

GALLOWAY DEPORTED, EGYPTIAN POLICE ARE HARASSING CONVOY MEMBERS IN GAZA HOTEL. via @Zhat:

… an hour ago ~7amGMT Egyptian police in plain clothes arrived at his hotel in Gaza and were very aggressively insisting convoy members leave Gaza now with the threat of arrest once on Egyptian soil. He said they were violent and aggressive – and seemed genuinely worried for his and other members safety.

FCO 020 7008 1500 – FCO’s EGYPT DESK 020 7008 0183 – UK Consulate in Cairo 00 20 2279 16000* BBC 03700 100 222 & Egypt Govt… *TIP! 8p/min call to Egypt via: 0871 551 60 60

11am: ‘El-Arish 7′ + 4 more to be arrested?

TUR group head briefing cause Galloway had to leave. Saying that 11 names wanted by EGY, 7 of which are those previously arrested in Elarish... TURs here told EGY autho we’re not moving unless all mbers are with us.Convoy mbers are now on the PLE side of the Rafah border about to be briefed. Just got our passports. @juanajaafar

NEWS! Latest Press TV report:

8am: Our Convoy’s 48-hours in Gaza is over…

Just one day in #Gaza. Met fantastic people. Wish we could stay, but Egypt insisting on evacuating all to Cairo airport 2day … All sorts of rumours. Egypt wanting 2 give trouble. Threatening 2 arrest all those who were released in El-Arish + maybe more@Joti2Gaza

BREAKING NEWS!

VP Press Release: BRITISH MP GEORGE GALLOWAY in CAIRO ‘Deportation’…

Egyptian ununiformed plane clothes police officers bundled him onto a London plane… As soon as they emerged onto Egyptian soil both Men were forcibly pushed into a van, refused exit and told that they were leaving the country. They were then driven off in a police convoy.

NEWS! The Guardian “Terror is the price of support for despots and dictators”: Egypt’s complicity in the Gaza’s siege underlines the role of western support for such regimes in the spread of war & Socialist Worker: A victory for Viva Palestina

Day 32+1 – Thursday Jan 7 2010

NEWS! Democracy NOW! interview with George Galloway: … and, did you notice? they used OUR map!

6pm: Our intrepid SuperTweeter™ risks life and limb(s)…

Israeli land mine under what used to be a 3-story bungalow owned by a wealthy family. They now live in a mud house – @Juanjaafar

5pm:

Tour of Gaza City shows destruction left by Israeli assaults n shows resilience of Gazan society n uncomprmising resistence of govrnmnt. Amidst spirit of endurance, ppl live with constant reminders of Israeli brutality such as t boom of sonic bombs fired even as i write this! @Zhat

NEWS! Bernama: Egyptian Authorities Free Ibrahim

3pm:

Just bought groceries from shop that gets ALL supplies from The Tunnel. Mud on cola cans. But damn it have to use Israeli currency!… Just saw bombed Parliament. Now passing through beach, can see Israeli naval ships in the horizon. They have no business being there.@juanajaafar

Israel's idea of democracy... – @juanajaafar

PGPO lot today split. Some going to Nothern Camp. Am tagging along Bernama crew to fish stories. First stop, the destroyed Ministries Dept All Ministries are housed in these blocks @juanajaafar

At where we parked our vehicles, there are also bombed and gunned cars. Check out the bullet – @juanajaafar

10am:

Gaza under siege but thriving n functioning.Broken,damaged but human ingenuity n resourcefulness of proud patriots live on.. Long live Gaza! – @Zhat

NEWS! Irish Examiner: Irishman hurt in Gaza convoy standoff [PIC!] & Irish Times: Aid convoy enters Gaza after attack at Egyptian port

9am: Good morning, Gaza ... – @juanajaafar

7am:

in Gaza and amazed at the internet connection… the pier at the gaza beach is gorgeous – @RamGK

4am:

Dear all who have been following my Tweets, the convoy have arrived safely in Gaza and checked into hotels. Here’s thanking you all for Following my updates. FYI, from tomorrow on PGPO will have its own programmes in Gaza, separate from the Viva folk. I may Tweet bout what we’re seeing but just so you know my updates on the convoy ends when I close my eyes tonight. Mission accomplished for Viva Palestina’s 3rd convoy to Gaza. Well done everyone! Amanah fulfilled. … Also please excuse typo, grammr on Tweets. Can hear the waves crashing outside. Goodnight everyone. May peace be upon you. – @juanajaafar

2am: Let’s not forget their chariots…

Just locked the ambulance for the last time and feeling a huge sense of loss creeping in…

Arafah the Ambulance has taken 2 young Msians across the Eurotunnel, up the snowy Alps, across the Adriatic Sea, through the stunning landscapes of TUR, through the deserts to Wadi Rum All the way to the Red Sea and back till we reached the Mediterranean and sailed it. To goddamn EGY and here, the Promised Land.

Arafah Sheltered us from cold winter nights, rain and riots without ever breaking down or going flat.

Now she will serve the people of Gaza… Thank you Arafah, for the ride of my life. Good luck. @juanajaafar

BLOG! The Sitch: Solidarity to Viva Palestina, from afar & Yvonne Ridley: Telling the Truth & Desert Peace: (Guess Who?) Behind The Chaos In Egypt

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« Days 32+3&4: Gaza to Cairo Airport

Days 32: El-Arish to GAZA »

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