Viva Palestina Convoy Takes Another Route To Gaza
AQABA (Jordan), Dec 29 (Bernama) -- After almost five days stranded in this port city, the 450 members of the Viva Palestina convoy of 220 trucks and ambulances were forced to make a detour to Damascus after the Egyptian authorities refused to let them use Nuweiba as a gateway to Gaza via Rafa.
The convoy which include eight Malaysians, four from the Perdana Global Peace Organisation and four Bernama TV crew had to reach the Syrian capital before continuing their journey to the Egyptian Mediterranean port of El-Arish
The journey from Aqaba to El-Arish is expected to take about 12 hours.
Perdana Global Peace Organisation is donating almost RM500,000 of humanitarian aid and an ambulance to the Palestinians in Gaza.
Turkey's IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation Deputy President Huseyin Oruc said the Egyptian government had insisted that the US$1 million medical, humanitarian and educational aid be delivered through El-Arish.
He said reverting to Syria would require the convoy to make their way around the Sinai Peninsula and through the Suez Canal.
"It is not important from which way or from which gate, the important thing is reaching Gaza. Actually reaching Gaza from Aqaba is easier for all of us.
"But it is no problem to us, anywhere and anytime we can go. If they don't allow us to go we are ready to wait for a long time and if they allow us from another port we are also ready to pass from that side.
"It is important for us to be patient, to keep our peace, we are not here to fight with people", he told Bernama
The Egyptian government's decision had been strongly criticised by members of the convoy as they felt gaining entry through El Arish port was ridiculous.
The convoy which had been stranded in Aqabah since Christmas eve had anticipated that the Egyptian government would allow them to use Nuweiba to get to Rafa, prior to reaching Gaza on December 27.
According to a member of the Turkish delegation, Siamak Alimi who had driven thousands of kilometers from London to Aqaba, traveling through the Suez Canal was not a viable option.
This was because passengers were not allowed to travel by cargo ships and that the port of El Arish was too shallow to support a ship transporting humanitarian aid.
"We have spent many hours travelling thousand of miles to get here so it is absolutely frustrating, it is absolutely disgraceful not to allow much needed medical equipments and supplies to the people of Gaza. This is something that we have been working for many months and not just me, all of us.
"People like me from Brussels have been working towards this and it is absolutely disgraceful to see the Egyptian government behaving like that", he said.
Another member of the convoy, Faruk Aktas said the Egyptian government should give a helping hand in enabling them to deliver the humanitarian air to Gaza.
"We come together in a convoy with all the passengers and aid. I don't think it is just something about humanitarian, just about the money but it is to Gaza, our brothers and sisters, we are with them, otherwise we could send them just the money", he said.
Another volunteer, Munir Ahmad said despite the problem, the convoy would proceed in any other way they could to deliver the aid.
"No matter what it takes. When last in Egypt, we were attacked with stones, bricks, batons, sticks and people stole the aid from our vehicles. We had a hard time the last time, but we won't stop we'll just keep coming, we'll keep coming InsyaAllah."
The convoy which attempts to break Israel's three and a half year blockade of Gaza by passing through Rafah to deliver the aid left London on December 6 before arriving in Aqaba, Jordan.
tunku : shame on you egypt.there should be some organizaion or body to condemn egypt's act.it is a humanitarian convoy not army.egypt is a puppet of israel and usa,they have shown that to the world.hope that OIC will condemn egypt but looking at OIC they will only say oh i see.