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UN Security Council calls for 'immediate and unconditional' ceasefire
Egypt bans Gaza convoy from Red Sea port
Published Friday 25/12/2009 (updated) 27/12/2009 09:56
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British MP George Galloway in Gaza last March [MaanImages]
Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Egypt refused permission on Thursday for a Gaza-bound aid convoy in led by British MP George Galloway to enter the country through the Red Sea port of Nuweiba.

There will be "no entry from Nuweiba. Entry can only be through Al-Arish," on the Mediterranean coast, Hossam Zaki told the French news agency AFP.

The Viva Palestina convoy of 250 trucks and ambulances laden with European, Turkish and Arab donations of food and medical supplies arrived in Jordan from Syria on Wednesday and was headed to the Red Sea port of Aqaba for the ferry journey across to the Egyptian Sinai port of Nuweiba.

Entering through the port of Al-Arish would mean going around the Sinai Peninsula and through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean.

In a statement quoted by AFP, Egypt’s foreign ministry said, "The Egyptian government welcomes the passage of the convoy into the Gaza Strip on December 27, on condition that it abides by the mechanisms in place for humanitarian aid convoys to the Palestinian people, including most importantly the entry of convoys through the port of El-Arish."

Egypt's Rafah crossing with Gaza is the only access point into the Palestinian territory that bypasses Israel.

British MP George Galloway, said the convoy would not be deterred by the Egyptian decision.

“We feel very sad that Egypt has turned us away on Christmas Day, but we hope they will reconsider. This is a very determined convoy and we’re not going anywhere except to Gaza.”

Earlier, at a pro Palestinian rally in Amman, Galloway issued a direct appeal to Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

“I ask him [Mubarak] on behalf of our convoy, on behalf of all the people around the people around the world whose hearts are bleeding, whose eyes are weeping for Palestine, please, open your gates for us, and allow us to proceed through the gates of Rafah and allow us to proceed to besieged Palestine,” he said.

In March, Galloway handed over thousands of dollars and dozens of vehicles to the Hamas-run government in Gaza after arriving on an aid convoy.

Israel and Egypt have severely restricted travel to and from the Gaza Strip since the Hamas took full control of the territory in June 2007.

Egypt’s refusal to allow Galloway’s aid convoy also does not bode well for another group, the Gaza Freedom March, which says it is bringing more than 1,300 people to challenge the Israeli led blockade. The group planned to enter Gaza via Rafah crossing in time for a march to Israel’s Erez crossing on 31 December.
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1 ) Haifa / USA
25/12/2009 13:35
Kudos to the great fighting Irishman who believes in justice and freedom, Mr Galloway, may God bless you and bless your family , the Palestinians are profoundly grateful for your humanitarian endevour. Israel's blockade is disgusting, but keep in mind the wheel is turning, what goes up must come down, and shame on the subservient and brutal regime in Egypt.

2 ) Ben Alofs / UK/Netherlands
25/12/2009 15:15
To Haifa/USA, I quite agree with your post. We all admire the volunteers from Viva Palestina and wish them all the best. One small correction is needed. George Galloway is not an Irishman, but a Scotsman.

3 ) christian palestinian / usa
25/12/2009 18:12
Bravo to the great george Galloway for standing up for principles and justice!

Down with Hosni Mubarak, the big traitor who sold his country to the zionists!

Every arab around the world (including myself) will celebrate and rejoice when the current corrupt egyptian government is replaced with a real government that represents the egyptian and arab people!

Palestine will eventually return to the Palestinian people!

4 ) Mise Eire / Ireland
25/12/2009 19:06
A disappointing u-turn given yesterday's statement's of support from the Egyptian Embassy Dublin Ireland - 24th December 2009
"The Embassy has the pleasure to inform you that the Egyptian authorities have decided to let the supplies and aid convoy headed by the British Parliamentarian George Galloway to enter into Gaza on the date that they have requested namely on the 27th of December."

5 ) Ahmad / usa
26/12/2009 18:04
Few can be called heros, Mr. Galloeay is definitly one. But, he should consider working on freeing Egypt from Israel's occupation, that could solve many problems.

6 ) joe smith / Bermuda
26/12/2009 18:39
Christian pali you will eventually be part of Jordan because your people are incapable of compromise

7 ) Linda / Canada to Palestine
26/12/2009 19:02
Please keep pressing Egypt for the Gaza Freedom March. We are bringing thousands of dollars worth of much needed aid, including warm clothing for Gaza's children. It's not over til we all make it through to break the siege on Gaza.

8 ) Mahmoud "The Dude" Lebowski / USA
27/12/2009 00:17
Mubarak has chosen Israel over the Palestinians. He's a sellout and a tyrant.

9 ) Scarlett / South Africa
28/12/2009 11:47
Mr Galloway and all of the people in the convoy,I applaud you for the very noble work you are doing.God bless the Holy Land of Palestine,you will be free Insha Allah.To the zionist oppressors remember the wheel is round and it turns.Beware of Gods wrath!!!!!!You are tightning the rope around your necks by your own hands.
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