The UK-based charity Viva Palestina hopes that Egypt lets it travel through the country in its mission to bring aid to the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip.
A relief mission, organized by the group, departed from London earlier in October with the ultimate aim of taking medical supplies and other requirements to the Gaza Strip. The coastal sliver has endured more than three years of the all-out Tel Aviv-imposed land, naval and aerial blockade.
The convoy, which represents the fifth such attempt by the charity, is currently in the Syrian capital, Damascus, a Press TV’s correspondent reported. It expects to reach Gaza through the Egyptian port of El Arish.
The convoy is expected to grow to the largest-ever Gaza-bound one as it is joined by fellow missions en route to Gaza.
“Egypt is not our enemy,” said former British lawmaker, George Galloway, who heads the organization, at a press conference in the Damascus.
“Our enemy is the Zionist state of Israel and we want to focus international opinion on the crimes of Israel,” he added.
Cairo has cooperated with Tel Aviv in its enforcement of the siege. It has kept close the Rafah border-crossing, which is Gaza’s only terminal that bypasses Israel.
Egypt has also pledged not to allow Gaza-headed aid convoys to stop by on its soil. In January 2010, the Egyptian riot police injured 55 people in El Arish during clashes with the high-profile Viva Palestina activists.
Galloway said he was willing to accept being denied entry into Egypt and Gaza so long as all the other convoy members and the aid is allowed to go in, our correspondent cited him as saying.
Even if the convoy can fare safe through Egypt, it is very likely to be violently confronted by Israel, which has likewise vowed to prevent such relief efforts.
On May 31, Israeli commandos stormed Freedom Flotilla, an aid-laden convoy, backed by Turkey, which had likewise set out to challenge the siege. The attack in international waters killed nine Turkish activists.
The attack sent shockwaves through the international community and occasioned a United Nations investigation.