Thursday, 14 October 2010

Viva Palestina 5 convoy cleared for Gaza entry buy Egypt maintains bar on Galloway

The Palestine Telegraph reports this morning that although Egypt will allow the Viva Palestina 5 convoy to enter Gaza through the Rafah crossing, George Galloway remains persona non grata and will be barred.
Cairo, October 14, (Pal Telegraph) Egyptian Foreign Ministry announced that Cairo is in the process of informing the organizers of the convoy lifeline 5 to allow them access to the port of El Arish, near the Gaza Strip.

Official spokesman of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, Hossam Zaki said: "Now we're going to inform the organizers of the convoy that we will allow them to sail from the Syrian port of Latakia, to the Egyptian port of El Arish”, stressing that Egypt's stance towards British MP George Galloway has not changed, in reference to the decision to ban him from entering Egypt. more

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Viva Palestina aid convoy opens negotiations with Egypt to allow for Rafah entry

Convoy in negotiations with Egypt to allow crossing into Gaza through Rafah. Still waiting at Syrian port of Latakia.
by Jim Nichol, on the convoy

The fifth Viva Palestina convoy from Britain is nearing Gaza. Human rights lawyer and socialist Jim Nichol reports from the convoy

Kayseri, Turkey: School children at the Hisarciklioglu high school line up to wave as we pass by. This was the school of Furkan Dogan. He was only 19-years-old when he was killed by the Israelis on the Mavi Marmara when they attacked the Gaza aid flotilla. He was the youngest to be killed.

At the head of his grave is a poster with Furkan’s photo. He looks much younger than his 19 years. So much younger.

The grave is planted with blues, yellows, pinks, orange and whites, and a single red rose. There are tears. Furkan was shot five times.

Leaving Turkey:
I’d like to get your sympathy by telling you that I am living on the baked beans that I bought in Tescos. But it would not be true. In every town we are feasted and cared for.

Young people are very noticeable. Last night perhaps two hundred 14 to 24 year olds formed a welcoming cordon.

We leave for Syria from the graveside of Getin Topguoglu. He too was killed on the Mavi Marmara. His wife Gigdem was by his side. She picks up a handful of earth from her husband’s grave and asks that it be sprinkled in Gaza.

The reception at the Syrian border is extraordinary. Hundreds of people swarm to meet the convoy. Many are Palestinians. A ten year old boy yells to me that he came from Haifa.

Everyone but everyone is looking after us. Breakfast this morning was provided by the Association of Lattakia Engineers.

Palestinian families come to the camp. “Come home with us”, they say. “We have cooked for you. Do you like fish? Do you like chicken? We have sweets. We want to go to Palestine.”


They tell of the town in Palestine from which they come like I tell about Newcastle. But I have been to Newcastle.

Monday 4 October: 9pm. We’re about to set off for Damascus. The Jordanians arrive. Like the cavalry but with lights and horns. Nose to tail they enter the compound—40 vehicles.

There is a huge refrigeration truck to keep some aid cool. It will be left in Gaza. It’s all very exciting.

We arrive and George Galloway is waiting for us. Press conferences, negotiations and a rally.

Tuesday 5 October: We wonder whether the Egyptians are going to let us in. They say that they will not let George in. The original sailing day was Tuesday. Today is Tuesday. Not a ship in sight.

I am part of a small press conference. I’m introduced as an international lawyer. I call for the prosecution of Israel for war crimes.

We hope to sail soon.

Friday 8 October:
Near catastrophe. At 5am the sky opened. It poured. A deluge. The aid was under several gazebos. The bottom layer is soaked. The place is flooded.

Enter the Algerians. Eighty men. We work shifting to dry land. They start singing. Three beat out the rhythm on cardboard boxes.

The pace is strong and fast. It is powerful. Collective. Zabeer says it is a traditional song for those who toil with a difficult task that must be finished. It is to uplift the spirit. It did.

Saturday 11 October:
Then came the winds. They howled. We lassoed tents to iron posts, lamp posts, flag posts, door posts.

Repackaging of wet boxes. But not before 40 brand new vans arrive. Bought by the Algerians.

From Algeria there are five MPs, three senators and the wives of three ex-ministers. One MP is the vice president of the Algerian parliament. The money was raised on the streets.

The level of aid is staggering. The vehicles must be worth one million US dollars. But there is also every kind of drug imaginable. The refrigerated vehicles are carrying chemotherapy drugs. I packed 100 good quality wheelchairs—new—into half a dozen ambulances.

No news on the negotiations.

From Socialist Worker (UK)

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Campaign to free Ahmad Sa'adat goes international as support grows


Ahmad Sa'adat, the General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, has been held in isolation in a series of prisons since March 16, 2009, with his isolation renewed again and again by occupation courts. He has been transferred from prison to prison, and is currently held in the isolation section of Ramon prison in the Naqab desert. Within these isolation units, Sa'adat has been placed further inside a separate isolation unit where he is confined without access even to the other prisoners in isolation, and deprived of basic human rights. His personal books have been confiscated and he is allowed access to newspapers only once or twice weekly. He is denied access to English and Arabic language newspapers and allowed only Hebrew-language media.

He has been repeatedly denied family visits - his wife, Abla, has been allowed only two visits during his entire period in isolation - as well as legal visits, and barred from purchases at the prison canteen, including cigarette purchases. In the prison yard, Sa'adat has been held handcuffed and in ankle shackles and allowed only one-hour of exercise/recreation. The Prison Administration is attempting to criminalize the human and social relationship between fellow Palestinian prisoners, and between the prisoners and their families outside.

Sa'adat has led in the struggle against isolation, engaging in a nine-day hunger strike in 2009 in protest of isolation. Isolation is damaging and destructive to the mental and physical health of Palestinian prisoners, and is being used as a political weapon in order to punish and isolate Palestinian prisoner leaders. Some prisoners have been subject to isolation for years at a time, with severe effects. Take action now to fight isolation and demand the freedom of Ahmad Sa'adat and all Palestinian prisoners!


1. The Campaign in Solidarity with Ahmad Sa'adat in Palestine is calling upon all supporters to write letters to the Israeli Prison Service and demand they end the practice of isolation, end human rights violations, and free Palestinian prisoners. Send an email to the Bureau of the Minister of Public Security at and to the Public Complaints Department at, and copy the following:

Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister, Office of the Prime Minister, 3, Kaplan Street, PO Box 187, Kiryat Ben-Gurion, Jerusalem, Israel, Fax: +972- 2-651 2631, Email:

Mr. Menachem Mazuz, Attorney General, Fax: + 972 2 627 4481; + 972 2 628 5438; +972 2 530 3367

Brigadier General Avihai Mandelblit, Military Judge Advocate General, 6 David Elazar Street, Hakirya, Tel Aviv, Israel, Fax: +972 3 608 0366, +972 3 569 4526, Email:,

Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations Office and Specialized Institutions in Geneva, Avenue de la Paix 1-3, 1202 Geneva, Fax: +41 22 716 05 55, Email:

You may use our online form at:

2. Write a letter to Ahmad Sa'adat. Letters of support are important and demonstrate solidarity with Ahmad Sa'adat and Palestinian prisoners - let him know that the world is demanding his freedom. Email the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat at with your letters, or use our contact form at: We will send all letters received to Palestine. We also encourage you to write to him directly using this address: Ahmad Sa'adat, Ramon Prison, Ramon area, PO Box 699, Postal Code 80600, Israel.

Ahmad Sa'adat has been imprisoned since 2002 in the prisons of the Palestinian Authority, held under U.S. and British guard, until his abduction by the Israeli occupation forces on March 14, 2006 by an occupation military raid on Jericho prison. On December 25, 2008, he was sentenced to thirty years inside the occupation prisons. He is a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and one of the foremost Palestinian national leaders held inside the occupier's jails.

Ahmad Sa'adat and approximately 7,000 Palestinian prisoners are daily on the front lines, confronting Israeli oppression and crimes. Today, on October 5-15, 2010 it is urgent that we stand with Ahmad Sa'adat and all Palestinian prisoners against these abuses, and for freedom for all Palestinian prisoners and for all of Palestine!

The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa'adat

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

52 trucks from Jordan and Gulf join Viva Palestina 5 aid convoy

Jordanian Aid Convoy crossed the city of Homs on Monday, and is heading for Latakia port. It includes 52 trucks, 120 activists and humanitarian aid offered from the Arab Gulf States and Jordan to the people of Gaza.

Earlier, The Gaza-bound Lifeline 5 aid convoy, which includes 52 trucks, 120 supporters and humanitarian aid, crossed the Nassib border crossing point in Daraa, southern Syria.

Coordinator of the Jordanian and Arab Gulf campaign Abdulfattah Kelani said that the convoy is heading to Gaza to express the Arab nation's desire to break the siege imposed on the people of Gaza, voicing appreciation of the limitless Syrian support for delivering aid to Gaza.

He noted that Arab participation in Lifeline 5 makes up around two thirds of participants, explaining that the convoy is split into three parts; one from Europe and Turkey, one from North Africa and Maghreb, and one from the Arab Gulf countries and Jordan.

more at Jordan's English language Day Press News

Monday, 4 October 2010

Israel soldiers forced Palestinian child to open package suspected of containing explosives

Two IDF staff sergeants have been indicted for forcing a nine-year-old Palestinian boy to open a package suspected of containing an explosive device. The incident only came to light after testimony at the Goldstone hearing which Israel refused to co-operate with. Although indicted, whether the soldiers will receive any punishment is an open question, with the move more likely a bit of window-dressing by the Israeli state in order to keep up the pretense that it is a democracy where the rule of law prevails. The maximum sentence they can receive is three years in prison, although it's more probable that the sentence will be a suspended one.

Viva Palestina land convoy now in Syria as UN council fails to endorse criminal inquiry into flotilla massacre

Video above from Iran's Press TV shows the convoy about to depart from Ankara, Turkey, en route to Syria. The convoy was met at the Syrian border by a couple of hundred Palestinian refugees and an official reception

Meanwhile, Palestinian human rights groups are furious with the PA for going along with the postponement by the UN Human Rights Council of an international criminal inquiry into the Mavi Marmara massacre.