Monday, 9 March 2009

Warm welcome for Viva Palestina convoy in Gaza

The Hamas government and ordinary people have welcomed the convoy's arrival in Gaza

From the Palestine Information Center
RAFAH, (PIC)-- All members of the British lifeline for Gaza convoy headed by house of commons member George Galloway has crossed Monday evening into the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing amid warm popular and official reception.

As he entered Gaza, Galloway said he was overwhelmed with happiness at the convoy's arrival on the anniversary of Prophet Mohammad's birth.

"The trip was long and difficult during which we travelled thousands of miles and crossed many borders. We faced difficulties and lost some of the participants, but at the end, we arrived by the grace of God to the holy land," the head of the convoy added.

Worcester makes decision on twinning - statement on Tuesday

The Berrow's Worcester Journal James Connell reports tonight that the Worcester Twinning Association has made its decision on twinning with Gaza but, bizarrely, the chairman refuses to say what that decision is. We'll have to wait for a press statement from the City council tomorrow.

Viva Palestina convoy enters Gaza!

It's over - after 10,000km and the convoy has made it into Gaza. Well done everyone involved in this gigantic effort of solidarity.

15:30 GMT - George Galloway made an emotional speech thanking the people of Gaza for the wonderful reception and assuring them that for Viva Palestina and in our millions, "WE ARE ALL PALESTINIANS!" George also reiterated that the people of Palestine have voted and that their voice should be respected.

Today the convoy will head along the Salah Eddine road towards Gaza City witnessing along the way the destruction and death caused by the Israeli war machine. Along the way they will be greeted by the people of Gaza who will know that Viva Palestina is here and that they will NEVER BE ALONE.

More at the Viva Paelstina website

And even on the BBC - better late than never I suppose

Israel's war increases Hamas popularity

An opinion poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research last week among 1,270 people in a face-to-face survey gives Haniyeh's Hamas 47 percent support, beating Abbas with 45 percent. Three months ago it was 38 for Hamas and 48 for Abbas and Fatah.

If popular Fatah leader, Marwan Barghouthi,, currently languishing in an Israeli jail was up against Haniyeh Barghouthi would win 61% to 34% according to the pollsters. Full story here

The day Israel executed a 72-year-old man

The evidence of the atrocities committed by the Israeli Occupation Forces during the 22-day war on Gaza keeps piling up.
He woke up on Thursday morning, January 8, and looked through his window at his father's house.

“I could hear gunfire but I did not see soldiers advancing. I saw my 72-year old father using his crutch and walking towards my home, he called my name and said he is coming over”, the son said. “I said, welcome, come over, but then I heard gunfire, I saw bullets hitting a wall and then my father”.

As he fell, his daughter-in-law and grandchildren started screaming and crying while his son phoned the medics and rushed towards his father.

“But as soon as we left our home, Israeli soldiers surrounded us, ordering us to freeze. Then two soldiers approached me and my kids” the son added, “two other soldiers approached my wounded father and stood by his head; he was on his abdomen and still moving his legs”.

Mubarak tried to talk to the soldiers, asking them to let him rescue his father, but they ordered him to remain silent and said that they would shoot him if he spoke again.

I then witnessed the most horrific act: I saw one soldier approach my father, point his gun and shoot him”, said Mubarak.
From the International Middle East Media Center

Viva Palestina convoy heads for Rafah after Al-Alrish confrontations

Viva Palestina report this morning that the convoy s now on the move to the border at Rafah,suggesting negotiation to allow the entire convoy to cross at Rafah have been successful and no vehicles will have to use the Israeli controlled crossings.

Meanwhile, the four people kicked out of Egypt for no apparent reason have returned to the UK and were met by 50 supporters at Manchester airport

Worcester meeting bolsters tonight's vote to twin with Gaza City

Last night saw 70 people gather in Worcester to support the twinning resolution passed by the city council.The meeting heard from Manal Timraz who lost 15 members of her family in the recent war.

The Worcester Twinning Association meets tonight to make the decision and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Stop the War are holding a vigil to encourage the association members to make the right decision.

The national press has derided the principled vote of the Labour councillors, leading the leaders of the Labour group to ban members from talking to the press.

Read the report at the Berrow's Worcester Journal.

Derbyshire's £10,000 fundraiser for Gaza

From the Derbyshire Evening News
BOXING gloves worn by Amir Khan helped raise a total of £10,000 at a Derby charity event for Gaza.

The cash was generated in an auction at the Pakistan Community Centre and will go towards providing medical care for Palestinians injured during the Israeli-Gaza conflict.

The gloves went for £350, and tickets to see Khan fight and a one-hour-long limousine ride were among other items that helped boost the total. more

ICC closer to opening war crimes investigation

The International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo says he could launch an investigation into Israel's use of white phosphorus shells in Gaza. This is a welcome change of heart from Moreno-Campo whose initial response to evidence submitted by the Arab League and Amnesty International was dismissive.

Since then he has agreed that the Palestine Authority is a 'enough like a state' to being a charge against Israel to the court.

"We are in the analysis phase. I have not yet decided whether we will launch an investigation, but it is a possibility," said

report at ynetnews

The ynetnews report counterposes the recent issue of an arrest warrant for the president of Sudan, Omar el-Bashir, implying that there may be some kind of trade-off going on.

Convoy vehicles stoned as Egyptian police get nasty

Overnight in Al-Arish power was cut to the convoy's compound and children were incited/paid by police to throw stones at the vehicles and write anti-Hamas grafitti.

"It's an absolute disgrace," convoy organiser Yvonne Ridley told AFP. "The power was cut. During cover of darkness members of our convoy were attacked with stones.

"Vandals also wrote dirty words and anti-Hamas slogans," she said. "Several people in the convoy were injured in the attack."

The attack follows clashes between activists and police earlier in the day as frustrations boiled over at the actions of the Egyptian authorities who are refusing to allow non-medical aid to cross into Gaza through Rafah. They are still insisting that non-medical aid goes though Israeli-controlled crossings.

10 trucks of medical aid from Libya that joined the convoy were allowed through yesterday.

Negotiations are ongoing as the stand-off continues.

Ring the Egyptian Embassy to complain about their outrageous behaviour:
020 7235 9777

Greg Cullen's eyewitness report on the clashes at Al-Arish

From Greg Cullen's blog
As we understood it the Egyptian government had given permission for the entire convoy to travel together, perhaps local officials had other ideas. Perhaps what was happening was a deliberate attempt to provoke a response. We were instructd by our leaders to remove the blockades and to drive to Gaza. This provoked a physical confrontation. Riot police were deployed against us as the vehicles started leaving the car parks. These police carry large cane sticks to whip you with and rubber truncheons that split your skin and leave large whelts. Tempers flared on both sides as we each sought to protect our comrades from the other side. The mini riot was frightening and at times vicious. Two of the convoy were sent to hospital with others refusing to go. more