Gaza aid convoy awaits Egypt nod

Viva Palestina remains stranded with Cairo reluctant to let it through Nuweiba port.

Aid lorries with perishable goods are currently idling near the Jordanian port of Aqaba [Getty]
Aid lorries with perishable goods are currently idling near the Jordanian port of Aqaba [Getty]
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Gaza aid held up in Jordan

“Please President Mubarak – let us resolve this matter. We can only sail through Nuweiba. We are only four hours away from Gaza,” Galloway told Al Jazeera.

“We have this aid, and the people of Gaza need it on the anniversary on the 27th December  – a year after Israel’s 22-day bombardment of the beseiged Palestinian territory.

“All fingers should be pointing at Israel, not getting confused and pointing at Egypt”, Galloway said.

‘Infiltration worry’

But Maged Botros, a member of Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party, told Al Jazeera that the government in Cairo has every right to specify the port by which Viva Palestina enters its territory.

George Galloway has urged President Mubarak to let the convoy go through Nuweiba [AFP]

“We are talking about 250 trucks passing along this critical territory [the Israeli-Egyptian border] – it is technically so difficult to allow.

“There are good reasons not to allow them through Nuweiba … these trucks might create a big infiltration problem for Egyptian security forces”, he said.

But convoy members told Al Jazeera that travelling through the Suez was not a viable option, as passengers are not allowed to go with cargo ships and that the port of El-Arish is too shallow to take the size of ship needed to transport the aid.

Anniversary deadline

Zuber Hatia, who has driven thousands of kilometres from the British city of Portsmouth, said there was a symbolic reason why Viva Palestina cannot make the extra long journey to El-Arish.

“We are only a four hour ferry ride and a four hour drive from Gaza – we have to be there by 11:35am on 27th December – the first anniversary of Israel’s war on Gaza”, Hatia said.

“So though we have all the cargo manifests, we have to just sit, wait and hope. Unfortunately, the Egyptians I have spoken to say this is a ‘political aid convoy’ rather than a humanitarian aid convoy – and that makes all the difference,” Hatia said.

“And though the Jordanians are being very kind to us while we wait, the fact is our trucks are impounded in a car park 30km from the port with tonnes of medicines spoiling in this Middle Eastern heat.

“Please Mubarak, let our people go!”, Hatia said.

Source : Al Jazeera


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