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Convoy to take aid to Gaza

Published Jun 13, 2009 9:21 AM

Supporters of the beleaguered Palestinian people plan to leave from New York City on July 4 with medical supplies they will deliver to hospitals in Gaza.

This effort has been spearheaded by British MP George Galloway, who heads an international effort called Viva Palestina to break the genocidal blockade that has been imposed upon the people of Gaza by the U.S., the Western European powers and the racist state of Israel. Galloway has been speaking across the U.S. to raise money for the convoy, co-led by Vietnam vet and author Ron Kovic. The U.S. humanitarian organization IFCO/Pastors for Peace is the convoy’s fiscal sponsor.

On May 26 nearly 700 people packed a catering hall in Brooklyn’s Arab community to welcome Galloway. The Brooklyn meeting alone raised nearly $100,000. The meeting was organized by Al-Awda NY, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition; the Arab Muslim American Federation (AMAF); and the Break the Siege on Gaza Coalition.

Galloway described the human devastation wrought by the U.S.-funded Israeli attack on Gaza in December and January, including the horrible effects of such U.S.-supplied weapons as white phosphorous and DIME (Dense Inert Metal Explosive). Adults and children who inhale white phosphorous literally bake to death from the inside out; DIME tears off human limbs.

The blockade compounds the effect of the destruction. People cannot get materials to rebuild their homes; children who have lost arms and legs cannot get wheelchairs or prosthetics; and hospitals lack basic medicines.

Galloway also described the outpouring of sympathy that met a humanitarian aid convoy he led from Britain to Gaza earlier this year. The 110 vehicles traveled through Europe and North Africa to Egypt, where popular enthusiasm forced the U.S.-backed Mubarak regime to open the Rafah crossing and let the convoy pass into Gaza.

He especially urged people in the U.S. to take action, since the U.S. funds and arms the Israeli war machine.

The meeting also heard poets Remi Kanazi and Salah Tahani, whose words painted vivid pictures of the suffering of the Palestinian people and their determination to regain their land. Other speakers included Wael Mousfar of AMAF and Dima AbiSaab of Al-Awda NY. The event was emceed by Lamis Deek, Al-Awda NY co-chair.

More information about the convoy effort can be found at vivapalestina-us.org.