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Irish cross into Gaza: Viva Palestina aid convoy has finally arrived in Gaza!

category international | rights, freedoms and repression | feature author Thursday January 07, 2010 04:21author by Fintan Lane - IPSC media officer Report this post to the editors

Siege is broken!

The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) has received word from the Irish participants on the Viva Palestina aid convoy that they crossed the border at Rafah and arrived in Gaza shortly after 7pm (Irish time). This is exactly one month after the convoy set off on its journey and despite concerted efforts by Egypt to obstruct its progress.

Galloway interview on Al Jazeera

According to Tyrone man John Hurson in a text sent at 7.40pm, "We arrived in Gaza 30 minutes ago to one amazing welcome. The excitement is incredible. It is good to be home again and meet all my friends. Beautiful feeling." John Hurson had also participated in the previous Viva Palestina aid convoy to Gaza.

Among those interviewed on the video are the Irish participants from Derry. The Derry members of the convoy are J.J. Crockett, Enna O Donghaile, Eddie McBride, Derek McChrystal and Danny Doyle.

Freda Hughes, spokesperson for the IPSC, said, "The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign sends its congratulations to all those who participated in the convoy. It was a long, hard journey, but they made it. It was a brave effort and some of them were physically attacked by the Egyptian police along the way. The obstruction of the convoy by the Egyptian authorities was shameful and the attack on members of the convoy last night was an absolute disgrace, but we are glad to see that most of the humanitarian aid has finally reached its destination, where it is badly needed."

She continued, "It is especially appropriate that the siege of Gaza has been broken by this convoy at this time, which is exactly 12 months since the Israeli massacre in which 1,400 Palestinians were brutally killed. It is important to remember that more than 300 of those victims were children. We are also conscious that the Israeli blockade of Gaza continues and its impact is primarily on the civilian population. People in Gaza continue to suffer horribly. The Israeli siege of Gaza must end now."

There were 10 Irish participants on the convoy, from both north and south of the border, and three vehicles from Ireland.

Among those in Gaza at present are John Hurson from Tyrone, Kate O'Sullivan from Cork, and Dave Carroll, also from Cork. Dave Carroll was injured and required stiches following last night's attack on the convoy in El-Arish by Egyptian riot police.

author by Sean Clintonpublication date Wed Jan 06, 2010 22:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well done to all the people from the various corners of Ireland who have endured so much over the past four weeks in order to bring aid and the comfort of human solidarity to the beleaguered people of Gaza.
Thank you for taking the time, the trouble and the personal expense of being away from your families and loved one at this time, placing yourselves in harms way, as evidenced by the brutal treatment meted out by thuggish Egyptian police last night. You have done so selflessly, in order to show real solidarity with people who have been abandoned by the EU which aids and abets the Zionists’ merciless subjugation of the downtrodden, besieged and defenceless people in Gaza..

author by Raymond Deanepublication date Wed Jan 06, 2010 22:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Some of us feel proud of ourselves when we brave a bit of cold and snow to demonstrate outside the Israeli or Egyptian Embassies here in Dublin - and so we should! However, the only word that covers what these people have achieved by stubbornly making their way to Gaza is one that normally I never use: heroism. They have sacrificed the festive season and laid their very lives on the line for the sake of a principle, and for the sake of those long-suffering Palestinians whose ongoing persecution belittles all of us. A hundred thousand congratulations!

author by FSB!publication date Thu Jan 07, 2010 01:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

...out of gape-mouthed admiration for what the Viva Palestina! convoy have achieved, and for prevailing over all the obstacles put in their way. The convoy's collective discipline, spirit and grace under extreme provocation has been an inspiration to witness from far away. And my gratitude for what the convoy has done is nothing compared to what Gazans must feel for them right now, even though the convoy's efforts hardly begins to address the bare minimum that the Gaza Strip requires to start recovering from the atrocity Israel inflicted wantonly upon over a million people not thirteen months ago. Having said that I do not deprecate the great and necessary work of Viva Palestina! and similar organisations. They carry out support work and solidarity activism supported by multitudes around the world. They stand in for half-arsed supporters like me, who has long had great sympathy for a people who never deserved the calamity that the so-called 'free world' imposed upon them back in 1948, i.e. the Nakba. I'm stuck into other struggles closer to home that monopolise my own attention and passions, but I'm so glad that there are people here in Ireland too that give their time, their love, and their own safety to stand with our planet's most defenceless and abused people - the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. I have friends and comrades on the Viva Palestina! convoy, and in the West Bank over this winter - I feel indebted to them for being there in the world's most dangerous theatre for solidarity action.

That the Egyptian police state was reduced to openly assaulting the convoy shows how effective Viva Palestina!'s uncompromising stand on getting into Gaza was, and shows exactly how the siege of Gaza is contrived and also who is contriving it. As Caoimhe Butterly said, Getting into Gaza the way they did is a visible breaking of the siege and effective on many different levels.

Allow me to shed a tear or two in joy for what all you brave people of Viva Palestina! have done this day.


author by annepaxton - Voices of Palestinepublication date Thu Jan 07, 2010 02:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

After all those setbacks--it'a a great saga with a happy ending! Thank you for inspiring everyone with your persistence and endurance, and for making such a huge, material difference for Palestine. As a Cairo-embedded Gaza Freedom March participant, I was so fearful that the path would be barred--and it was, but you forged on past. I am sorry the delays and wrangles meant we couldn't meet up with the convoy as planned, but you make me feel that in the best way possible, we got to Gaza after all. Thank you so much!

author by Miriam Cottonpublication date Thu Jan 07, 2010 13:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Congratulations to all involved - hope the rest of the convoy makes it through as soon as possible.

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Thu Jan 07, 2010 14:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Heartiest congratulations to all. A very brave thing. Incidentally, there was an excellent programme on BBC last evening, wherein Ross Kemp went in to Gaza and interviewed members of Hamas and other factions as well as ordinary people and in fairness did a lot to highlight the plight of people there. Never get that on RTE.

author by Damienpublication date Thu Jan 07, 2010 17:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Perhaps the knuckle dragger meant to go to 'Afghan', as he affectionately calls it, and interview the brave troops who are 'keeping us out of harms way'?

author by Jacqueline Fallonpublication date Thu Jan 07, 2010 21:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Comhghairdeas! Congratulations to all who participated in the Viva Palestina convoy and delivered much needed humanitarian aid to the people of the Gaza strip - well done, you have courageously travelled a long distance to deliver successfully humanitarian aid, and you can all be very proud of yourselves.

I do not understand why Egypt will not assist its neighbours in Gaza - they share a common religion with the majority in Gaza, you would think that would count for something in the Middle East (a region 'which gave birth to the world's major religions') and that Islamic nations would at least support each other? Perhaps, Egypt is afraid Israel will declare war on it and be assisted by the US - and if they are in receipt of such a threat, then they should share it with the rest of the world, or at least explain why Egypt has taken such a callous approach to its war torn neighbours, who have been treated so abominably by Israel.

Good Gaza documentary on tonight:

Ross Kemp 's Gaza documentary "Ross Kemp in the Middle East" is repeated tonight on Sky One at 23:00hrs, which is worth watching. In fairness, his documentaries are very good (he certainly gains a lot of access to military personnel in organisations that are not usually so forthcoming with westerners or "friendly") and he never claims that he is knowledgeable or has any answers, but instead allows people express their own opinions - he lets them tell the reality as they see it and everyone involved in the conflict is given an opportunity to air their own views, which I think is brilliant. I did feel he was being used - but then they probably felt the same way. The next documentary will be from an Israeli perspective - I think it is on Sky One on Sunday at 21:00 hrs (it will probably also be repeated next week). Fair dues to Ross Kemp as well - he is brave - and is also highlighting the plight of the Palestinian people and others around the world and, therefore, doing some good.

author by Malachy Steenson - Workers Party publication date Fri Jan 08, 2010 13:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

From: Communist Party of Israel, Tuesday, 05 January 2010
> ,
> ==================================================
> Communist Party of Israel
> Thousands of left-wing and peace activists marched in Tel Aviv
> yesterday marking the one-year anniversary of Operation Cast Lead
> Thousands of left-wing and peace activists marched in Tel Aviv
> yesterday (Saturday evening, January 3, 2010) marking the one-year
> anniversary of Operation Cast Lead, chanting slogans calling to put to
> trial members of the government that ordered the IDF to carry out the
> campaign, and chanting slogans such as, "No to the occupation, yes to
> peace", and "Two countries for two peoples: Israel & Palestine".
> Participating in the protests were members of Hadash (Democratic Front
> for Peace and Equality - Communist Party of Israel, Banki-Shabiba
> (Young Communist League), Women's Coalition for Peace and Gush Shalom.
> Hadash leader M.K. Muhammad Barake told Israel Radio that "the key to
> communication and open the blockade is also the key that would stop
> rockets flying from Gaza." Notably missing from the protest were
> members of Zionist left-wing party Meretz.
> The 22-day Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip killed over 1,400
> Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injured over 5,500
> people. In anniversary events that began earlier this week,
> demonstrators accused the Israeli government of committing war crimes
> in the territory.
> Photos and more information of the Tel-Aviv rally: Hadash website
> (Arabic):

author by Kev - IPSC (pers cap)publication date Fri Jan 08, 2010 16:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Irish humanitarians safely out of Gaza as Israeli air-strikes kill 3 Palestinians, including 14-year-old boy / Galloway deported from Egypt / All convoy members to be ‘black-listed’

"The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) has learned that all international members, including the Irish participants, of the Viva Palestina aid convoy safely left Gaza this afternoon and are in Egypt. Reports are just coming in that all convoy members have been escorted to the airport in Cairo and are facing de facto deportation and black-listing. There were fears for their safety last night after reports emerged from Gaza that Israeli air-strikes had struck up to seven locations in the Gaza Strip. "

Full story at:

Related Link:
author by is mise le measpublication date Sat Jan 09, 2010 21:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Irish men and women who made the long, arduous road trip to Gaza to donate essential aid each deserve a hero's welcome back home. I really hope that the courage, solidarity and generosity that they have shown to the besieged Gazans will be acknowledged by the Irish state in some way.

author by FSB!publication date Sat Jan 09, 2010 23:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

..."I really hope that the courage, solidarity and generosity that they have shown to the besieged Gazans will be acknowledged by the Irish state in some way"

Perhaps Garda/PSNI Special Branch are working on something appropriate as we speak - new file entries, extra harassment for Palestine solidarity activists, 'leaks' & 'exclusives' by Garda Sources the ever-reliable friend of the compromised 'security correspondents' of our fair land, surveillance operations reporting (in)directly to Mossad and Mubarak's Mukhabarat: the list of appropriate activities for state agencies in Ireland to show their acknowledgement are plentiful and diverse.

Meanwhile, oleaginous Mickey Martin the minister for junkets out foreign will continue to speak out of both sides of his mouth on the plight of Gaza, as is his custom on so many other matters.

author by Aidan OSullivanpublication date Mon Jan 11, 2010 17:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dear friends,

FYI - Nessa Childers MEP will be part of a delegation with numerous MEPs and national parliamentarians to Cairo and the Gaza strip from Wednesday this week for 4 days. The trip is being organised by an umbrella Palestinian NGO ( based in London.

Let me know of any questions or suggestions. Nessa hopes to raise again the human rights abuses in the region.


author by johnpublication date Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If it were me I wouldn't be able to stomach the hypocrisy, nor would I want to give them the political mileage but let's all make sure that when these good folk get home we give em a warm welcome where it counts. In their communities

author by Aidan OSullivan - European Parliamentpublication date Tue Jan 12, 2010 22:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Delegation including Irelands Nessa Childers MEP

author by Smash EDOpublication date Mon Jan 18, 2010 18:41author address brighton. englandauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Jan 18 action at EDO/Brighton -arms supplier to the bombing of Gaza



author by John Wpublication date Wed Jan 20, 2010 14:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Jacqueline Fallon says she doesn’t understand why Egypt doesn’t assist its neighbours in Gaza by opening its border with Gaza to allow goods in.

The answer is straightforward: for years, Israel has been trying to shovel off responsibility for the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza on to Egypt. I heard the Israeli Ambassador in London on radio recently saying that Israel was going to maintain the blockade as long as Hamas controlled Gaza, and pointing out that it had a border with Egypt through which it could be supplied.

Israel would be delighted if Egypt threw open its borders with Gaza. If that happened, Israel wouldn't need to open its borders with Gaza at all. Even better if Egypt took Gaza and its 1.5 million Palestinians off its hands altogether. Israel’s ambition is to hold on to as much of Palestine as possible, with as few Palestinians as possible (preferably none). Getting rid of 1.5 million to Egypt would be a great help in that ambition.

And, if Israel gets trouble from Gaza, eg rockets fired into Israel, it can always repeat Operation Cast Lead and, if the borders with Egypt are open, there will be a second Nakba - Palestinians from Gaza will take refuge in Egypt and Israel won’t let them back.

Demanding that Egypt open its borders with Gaza is playing into Israel’s hands. If you doubt this, read the following letter published in the Belfast Telegraph, supporting Viva Palestina against Egypt. The letter is by Colin Nevin of Northern Ireland Friends of Israel.

Egypt should be held to account for clashes

Friday, 8 January 2010

Western activists trying to bring humanitarian aid into Gaza via Egypt this week are finding out that after dozens of members of their 'Viva Palestina' convoy ended up getting injured in clashes with Egyptian police, that Cairo, too, keeps a tight blockade on the border of Gaza.

I haven't yet heard of the Israelis being as heavy-handed as this in their handling of activists who act against official advice.

The biggest difference I can see, apart from the numbers that were attacked or ended up in hospital, is how little headline space the clashes with the Egyptians got in the newspapers.

Now if if Israel had have carried out the same (or even less) treatment of these foreign activists, it would have been front page news. So much for balanced journalism.

If the international community wants to lambast Israel for a so-called 'blockade' of Gaza, even though hundreds of trucks of commodities do get in via Israel largely unreported, then Egypt should equally be held to account for its role in keeping its Gaza border tightly closed.

It seems our do-good activists now have discovered this for themselves.

Both Israel and Egypt control the borders of Gaza. If one judged according to media reports, one would think Gaza has only one border, namely with Israel.

Furthermore, Egypt should have no political reasons for keeping their borders closed. Israel has.



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