Road to Hope convoy: We are stalled at Egyptian border

October 31, 2010 § 3 Comments

From a press release just issued by the Road to Hope convoy:

The Road to Hope humanitarian aid convoy continues its role in the international community’s collective mission to break the illegal siege of Gaza and deliver desperately needed aid to the people of Palestine in Gaza. The convoy has travelled four and a half thousand miles and is currently located at the Libyan/Egyptian border, where it finds itself at a standstill, with very limited access to internet and to direct communications with the outside world.

The convoy comprises 30 vehicles and 101 humanitarian aid workers.  Among them are 8 survivors of the Israeli attack on the Freedom Flotilla; 7 of them were aboard the Mavi Marmara, including Ken O’Keefe, who was involved in disarming two Israeli commandos.

The Road to Hope convoy is committed to acting in a non-political, non-confrontational manner, and to cooperating with every government in every country through which it has travelled.  Thus far this approach has rewarded it with exceptional receptions in every nation.  All of the North African governments have been extremely accommodating, and the people of each nation even more so.  Special praise is due to the Libyan government for its constant support; when the convoy has faced challenges such as the breakdown of vehicles, the Libyan authorities have provided the means to repair those vehicles and continue the mission.

The convoy departed from London with the understanding that the land crossing through Egypt had not been closed to it. Comments Mr. O’Keefe:

Now we find ourselves in our third day at the Libyan/Egyptian border and we remain hopeful that the land route will be opened to us in the coming days”.

Convoy leader Kieran Turner meanwhile comments:

One reason for our optimism that we will travel the land route is the fact that the Al Quds convoy, a Libyan convoy also delivering aid to Gaza, is set to travel the land route in the coming days.  For several weeks we have hoped to join our convoys and travel together.”

The convoy is currently awaiting permission from the Egyptian authorities to pass through Egypt in this manner. Mr. Turner understands that there is a possibility the Egyptian government will deny the convoy the land route, in which case only two acceptable options will remain:

1)    To press on via the land border without permission, at which time the only chance of success will be by way of significant international pressure and a reversal of a policy which tacitly supports the illegal siege of Gaza.

2)    To deliver the aid by sea. This option would entail significant increases in the cost of the mission, and, importantly, to all subsequent aid missions, which would then result in a reduction in the already limited resources that can be transported to the people of Palestine.

The convoy leadership urges the Egyptian authorities to allow safe passage to Gaza by land in the coming days, to allow the convoy to join the Al Quds convoy, and to ultimately increase the “easing” of the blockade which continues to collectively punish the people of Gaza.

Mr. O’Keefe calls on all supporters of Palestine “to support Road to Hope and the Al Quds convoys by spreading awareness of our missions and encouraging Egyptian cooperation”.

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