Viva Palestina Press Releases

Archive of Recent Viva Palestina Press Releases

Primary Contact: Alice Howard, Viva Palestina UK – Administration Manager
Tel: +44 7944 512 469 – Email: alice@vivapalestina.org – Web: vivapalestina.org

Fri, Jan 8, 2010 at 7:12 AM

Friday 8th January

BRITISH MP GEORGE GALLOWAY in CAIRO ‘Deportation’

British MP George Galloway was officially deported from Cairo today (Friday), when Egyptian ununiformed plane clothes police officers bundled him onto a London plane. Galloway had been trying to return to Rafah after news broke that seven of the Viva Palestina convoy members were said to be arrested.

Police – who at one point were numbered at 25 mainly plane clothes officers, refused him to return.

Several officers even followed Galloway to the toilet, rest room and a BA lounge.

Picture (right) is of one officer, presumed to be from Mukhabarat which was taken outside the BA lounge airside.

The incident began after George Galloway and his colleague Ron McKay arrived at the Rafah crossing from Gaza to Egypt. 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.

Viva Palestina convoy of 550 people from 17 countries was attacked by Egyptian riot police and plane clothes intelligence officers in the early hours of Wednesday (6th January). 55  of the convoy members were injured and 7 were also arrested.

However Galloway and Turkish MP’s struck a deal with Egyptian authorities, part of this deal was that the 7 detainees were released without charge.

On the enforced drive to Cairo, news came through of the imminent  arrest of the 7 but when Galloway demanded to return to Rafah, permission was repeatedly denied.

For further information please call Alice Howard on Tel: 07944 512 469 or via email at alice@vivapalestina.org
———————
Alice Howard
Viva Palestina UK – Administration Manager
Tel: +447944 512 469
Email: alice@vivapalestina.org
Website: http://www.vivapalestina.org/

Wed, Jan 6, 2010 at 2:37 PM

Egyptian Police attack Humanitarian Gaza Aid Convoy

Last night Egyptian police again delayed the Viva Palestina aid convoy carrying much needed aid from reaching the people of Gaza.  Having agreed to Egyptian demands whilst being stranded in the port of Aqaba some seven days ago, convoy leaders agreed to re-route their journey after receiving guarantees from the Egyptian authorities of a safe passage to Gaza.

Humanitarians from all over the world transporting the aid were attacked by riot police in the port of Al-Arish last night (5th January). And it is now reported that some of the activists were hospitalised overnight for their injuries. They have since returned back to re-join the convoy members in the port and thankfully have no life threatening issues.

British and national embassies are being kept informed of the situation.

Protests broke out when Egyptian authorities at Al – Arish ordered some lorries to use an Israeli-controlled checkpoint. The activists preferred the goods to be transported via Egypt’s Rafah crossing as agreed.

George Galloway who is leading the convoy said Israel is likely to prevent it entering Gaza – This morning he told Sky News. “It is completely unconscionable that 25% of our convoy should go to Israel and never arrive in Gaza.”

Following Israel’s horrific attack on Gaza, people all over Britain worked for months raising funds for aid and aid vehicles for the Palestinian people.  Those taking the aid are humanitarians from all walks of life, who have given up a month to bring the much needed medical aid in a gesture of solidarity with their continuing oppression under Israel’s illegal siege.

Betty Hunter, General Secretary of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign said, “It is shocking that the Egyptian government is behaving in this way.  There can be no justification for preventing this aid and the people who have worked so hard to provide it from reaching Gaza.  The Palestinians are waiting for this well publicised international convoy to arrive and these actions of the Egyptian government, and the building of Egypt’s  steel wall signal that Egypt is colluding with the Israeli government’s illegal siege of Gaza.”

Viva Palestina ‘The Return to Gaza’ is partnered with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and departed London on 6th December bound for Gaza.

For further information on the Viva Palestina convoy visit www.vivapalestina.org

Press information from Alice Howard on Tel:07944 512 469 or viva email: alice@vivapalestina.org

———————
Alice Howard
Viva Palestina UK – Administration Manager
Tel: +447944 512 469
Email: alice@vivapalestina.org
Website: http://www.vivapalestina.org/

Tue, Jan 5, 2010 at 8:04 PM

Crisis Point in El-Arish

To all friends of Palestine

Our situation is now at a crisis point! Riot has broken out in the port of Al- Arish.

This late afternoon we were negotiating with a senior official from Cairo who left negotiations some two hours ago and did not return. Our negotiations with the official was regarding taking our aid vehicles into Gaza.

He left two hours ago and did not come back. Egyptian authorities called over 2,000 riot police who then moved towards our camp at the port.

We have now blocked the entrance to the port and we are now faced with riot police and water cannons and are determined to defend our vehicles and aid.

The Egyptian authorities have by their stubbornness and hostility towards the convoy, brought us to a crisis point.

We are now calling upon all friends of palestine to mount protests in person where possible, but by any means available to Egyptian representatives, consulates and Embassy’s and demand that the convoy are allowed a safe passage into Gaza tomorrow!

Kevin Ovenden
Viva Palestina Convoy Leader

———————
Alice Howard
Viva Palestina UK – Administration Manager
Tel: 07944 512 469
Email: alice@vivapalestina.org
Website: http://www.vivapalestina.org/

Viva Palestina

Mon, Jan 4, 2010 at 11:43 PM

VIVA PALESTINA WIN AIRPORT BATTLE!

My last message to all of you was that the Viva Palestina convoy members have arrived into Al-Arish and were just hours away from breaking the siege of Gaza.

Now, I report to you that in the past hour 157 Viva Palestina convoy members passports were taken away at Al-Arish airport by the Egyptian authorities. The Egyptians also removed the passport’s of British MP George Galloway and convoy leader Kevin Ovenden.

All passports were stamped in on entry but also received an exit stamp too. The Egyptian’s wanted 157 convoy members to drive tonight to Gaza and forget about the other 400 Viva Palestina volunteers that were yet to fly into Al-Arish tonight.

Egyptian authorities say that the 400 volunteers would not be allowed entry! Convoy members started a sit down riot and refused to move or leave without their fellow convoy Brothers and Sisters!

I am now pleased to say that all passports have been returned back to their rightful owners and exit stamps have been removed – We won that battle! – Now convoy members are scouting for hotels for tonight and will return tomorrow to be reunited with all convoy members, before moving on, to pick up their vehicles and head for their final destination, Gaza!

Well as you can see that the situation is changing by the hour and I am now calling for all of you to gather at Egyptian Embassies, consulates and interests tomorrow. It will be either to shame the Egyptian government for blocking the convoy further or to celebrate Viva Palestina entering Gaza and organising further solidarity.

Viva Palestina convoy will fight all the way to deliver the aid to Gaza!

Viva Palestina

Mon, Jan 4, 2010 at 4:54 PM

Viva Palestina first group has landed

Dear Viva Palestina supporters

The first group has landed in Al Arish and discussions are taking place to resolve outstanding difficulties. Should those discussions not be successful, we ask you to please standby to protest tomorrow afternoon and evening GMT to Egyptian representatives and outside Egyptian interest i.e. Egyptian Embassy and consulate.

Viva Palestina

Mon, Jan 4, 2010 at 1:02 PM

Viva Palestina aid convoy hours away from breaking Gaza siege

The Viva Palestina international aid convoy is just hours away from breaking Israel’s three and a half year siege of Gaza.

Despite repeated obstructions from the Egyptian government, including its refusal to allow the convoy to land in the Egyptian port of Nuweiba, convoy members hope to be in Gaza tomorrow.

198 convoy vehicles, including ambulances and vans, were loaded on to a ferry in the Syrian port of Latakia on Saturday (2nd January) and have now docked and cleared customs at the Egyptian port of El Arish.

Convoy members will fly to El Arish today from Latakia to pick up the vehicles and drive less than one hundred miles to Egypt’s Rafah border crossing with Gaza.

Since Israel imposed its near total blockade on Gaza in 2006, people, aid and vehicles have been blocked from entering the Strip.

The convoy, jointly organised by Viva Palestina and Palestine Solidarity Campaign, will be taking in aid, including specialised medical equipment, and will also be leaving all its vehicles in Gaza.

It had hoped to enter the Strip on 27th December 2009, to mark the first anniversary of the day Israel began its three weeks land, air and sea assault on Gaza, killing 1,400 Palestinians and destroying homes, farms and essential infrastructure.

However, the convoy was forced to retrace its route through Jordan and Syria last week, after being refused permission to sail from Aqaba, Jordan to Nuweiba.

Kevin Ovenden, convoy organiser, said: ‘Despite all the difficulties, by land, by sea and by air, we are within 24hrs of breaking the siege of Gaza.’

‘We now have every right to expect unhindered and safe passage into Gaza, but we call on all our friends internationally to stand ready to raise their voices if we face further unjustified delay.’

Viva Palestina

Sun, Jan 3, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Philosophy Football support the Viva Palestina Emergency Appeal

Philosophy Football has been a big supporter of Viva Palestina from the start providing T-shirts, material support, publicity and funds for the campaign and the convoys.

The company’s co-founder, Hugh Tisdale, is currently with the convoy and reports on the £1000 donation they are making to give the Emergency Appeal is a magnificent start!

Tisdale says – ” I’ve not been able to be on the whole convoy. But to join it in Jordan and see the convoy members wearing the Philosophy Football shirts that we have donated, make our shirts the uniform of the convoy, this is what we wanted to contribute and its amazing to see our shirts having such an impact!

Over here the issue is very clear. The Israeli government is blocking the humanitarian aid we are carrying from getting into Gaza. No ifs, no buts, thats what they are doing. But they will not stop us. I’m really proud that the generosity of our customers has helped to make this convoy possible.

In just seven days I’ve experienced blizzard of sights, an experience that I could never have imagined. Yet what has struck me most of all is the welcome, the hospitality and the generosity from some of the poorest communities in the region. Now it is our job to complete the final leg of a journey made more expensive and more difficult by the restrictions on access the Israelis have successfully imposed on us via pressure on the Egyptian authorities.

Philosophy Football is glad to donate an additional £1000 to the Emergency Appeal, and we encourage all who want to break the blockade in the next few days to do the same. However small or large our donation this is a real chance to make a difference.”

The Philosophy Football Viva Palestina Convoy T-shirt is still available from here http://www.philosophyfootball.com/view_item.php?pid=561

You can also buy their best-selling ‘They stole my Land’ shirt from http://www.philosophyfootball.com/view_item.php?pid=457

All donations for the Viva Palestina Emergency Appeal can be made through here http://www.vivapalestina.org/donations.htm and through the Viva Palestina HSBC Bank Account Number: 41508458 Sort Code 40-04-24

Viva Palestina

Sat, Jan 2, 2010 at 12:28 PM

Viva Palestina convoy needs your help

The Viva Palestina convoy is now steaming towards Egypt after facing down all efforts to delay or stop its mission to bring relief to the besieged people of Gaza.

The refusal by the government of Egypt to allow the convoy – now 200 vehicles-strong – to pass last week across the Red Sea has meant that over $2,000,000 of aid has been kept from its recipients, charities and NGOs in the Gaza Strip.

The longer, more dangerous and more expensive route imposed by the Egyptian authorities also means that it will cost hundreds of thousands of pounds more to get the aid to the needy. That is money that should be spent on the sick and hungry.

George Galloway, who inspired the launch of Viva Palestina, says:

“Viva Palestina and the major Turkish charity IHH, which is a partner in the convoy, are appealing for funds to cover the punitive costs that have been imposed on the convoy thanks to obstruction and delays that have been imposed on it.

“Millions of people have followed this epic journey hour by hour on channels such as Al Jazeera and Press TV, or through websites, twitter and email blasts.

“They will have been enraged as they saw the attempts to prevent it reaching its goal. But we know from thousands of messages and the outpouring of public reaction in the Arab and Muslim worlds that they too share the convoy participants´ determination to see the mission succeed.

“Now they, you, have a chance to help it do so. The convoy organisers are appealing for urgent funds to ensure that the additional costs are met and do not have to come from monies already pledged to help the Palestinian people directly.

“If you are inspired by this humanitarian convoy, but angry at the way it has been frustrated you now have a chance to show it.

“Please rush your donations to Viva Palestina or the IHH and send the people of Gaza a message that they are not alone as they live through the anniversary of a bombardment that claimed over 1,400 lives. Your donation will help get the aid convoy through.

“With your generosity the extra costs can be more than met and the surplus raised will go to charitable work in the Palestinian cause. What better answer could there be to those who wish this convoy ill than to rally to it and support it financially.”

All donations for the emergency appeal for the Viva Palestina Gaza convoy can be made through Viva Palestina and through the IHH. Please see details below.

1. Viva Palestina HSBC Bank Account Number: 41508458 – Sort Code:40-04-24

2. IHH – Insani Yardim Vakfi – The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief – Please see bank details below.

Name of Bank: T.C. ZIRAAT BANKASI A.S. Account Number: 212 49 94 – 5012

IBAN CODE: TR280001000488021249945012 T.C. ZIRAAT BANKASI A.S.

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For further information on the Viva Palestina Gaza aid convoy and updates visit www.vivapalestina.org

RADIO! [Dec 27] Interview with Alice from Viva Palestina on BBC Radio Gloucestershire:

Press information from Alice Howard on Tel: 07944 512 469 or via email: alice@vivapalestina.org

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