THIS JUST IN…..
FROM DERRY TO GAZA IN AN AMBULANCE (UPDATE)
HEADLINE: NEXT 72 HOURS ARE CRITICAL
About the Gaza Five:
The Gaza Five are: Jonathon Crockett, Eanna O’Donaghaile, Danny Doyle, Eddie Mc Bride and Derek Mc Chrystal. On December 5th this year, five Derry men set out on a long journey from Derry to the Gaza strip in an ambulance full of medical aid and educational resources in order to provide humanitarian relief to the people of that region. These are people who are suffering since the latest conflict, which caused devastation resulting in much of Gaza being destroyed and 1,400 men, women and children being killed. The Israelis have now placed a blockade on Gaza preventing any aid into Gaza’s impoverished people and preventing them from leaving. These 5 Derry men took on the task of driving this ambulance all the way to Gaza meeting up with a convoy of 220 other vehicles from all over Europe to deliver humanitarian aid through the organisation ‘Viva Palestina’.
Message received 1st January 2010
Last night we received further info about the next critical 72 hours. Kevin Ovenden, leader of Viva Palestina and right hand man of [George] Galloway, came out and reported that:
We have got a cargo ship which, weather pending, will set sail tomorrow afternoon (1st January) on a 20-hour crossing to Al-Arish. At the moment, the ferry cargo ship only allows 12 people on board but Viva Palestina is trying to extend that to 60 people. These people are crucial to minding the vehicles and ensuring a safe entry into Egypt. The remaining 450 people will fly on chartered airplanes to Al-Arish and arrive Sunday afternoon before the boats, and hopefully we will get out to the port without trouble before the boats arrive.
All these arrangements are dependant on the weather but these are the plans. Overall and inshallah, we expect to be in Al-Arish (25 kms from Gaza) by Sunday afternoon. The last time the convoy was there, they got stones thrown at their vehicles, and physical abuse from the Egyptian police. We expect the same and will draw up strategies to deal with these possiblities. It’s hard to beat down a man that has driven 5000 miles through all lands and seas, fuelled by a tidal wave of great support. The Egyptians will need more than fists to block our entry, though we will not provoke them. Let’s hope for the best and expect the worst.
Once we enter Al-Arish, the shite will hit the fan….There will be an inevitable 2-3 day delay and possibly more…Rumours suggest the Rafah crossing into Gaza is open from the 3rd to the 5th. Hopefully and ideally, we will enter on the 3rd, spend a couple of days in Gaza building up contacts of support and be able to fly home from Sharm el Sheik on the 6th January. Though this is doubtful. As I said we are prepared for the worst, but live in hope. The next 72 hours are the most critical of the whole campaign and we need your support more than ever, to cover the media side and put pressure on Egyptians to let us through. We are on their doorstep and they must let us in.