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Viva Palestina Stopped at the "Peace" Bridge

July 13, 2009

On July 4, a delegation of solidarity activists set out from the U.S. to deliver desperately needed humanitarian supplies to the Palestinians of Gaza. The convoy was organized by group Viva Palestina, led by British member of parliament and antiwar activist George Galloway, who was part of a similar effort from London earlier this year.

The delegation arrived in Egypt and began assembling vehicles and supplies. But its progress has been hampered by Egyptian authorities, who stopped several buses filled with Viva Palestina members from crossing into the Sinai on the way toward the Rafah border crossing into Gaza. Organizers said they wanted to continue their journey on Monday with the cooperation of the Egyptian government.

Several SocialistWorker.org contributors are part of the Viva Palestina delegation and will be contributing to this journal. This entry was written by Karen Burke and Brian Lenzo.
OUR GROUP of 200 activists, aptly named "Viva Palestina," encountered its first delay on July 12.

The delegation had divided into two teams, with half going to the city of Al Arish to consolidate humanitarian supplies and the other half to Alexandria to secure a fleet of vehicles to carry the aid across the border into Gaza.

The delegation sent to Al Arish was delayed at the Mubarak Peace Bridge on its way over the Suez Canal. About 100 members of the delegation decided to stay the night in their buses on the bridge on Saturday, despite pressure from the Egyptian security officials to return to Cairo.

When the convoy arrived at the Peace Bridge checkpoint, Egyptian authorities asked organizers to step off the buses for negotiations. The group remained on the buses, unaware that they were being detained. The first thing they were told was that the Interior Ministry had gotten word to the checkpoint to not allow the convoy to pass. Later, organizers were told that the convoy could not pass for unspecified security reasons.

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