Our Campaign aims

A campaign to raise awareness of the Palestinian struggle for freedom and justice.
We support the call for Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions of Israel and Israeli goods.

Monday, 29 November 2010

'Road to Hope' Convoy finally reaches GAZA

The humanitarian aid convoy carrying aid supplies for the people of the besieged Gaza Strip has entered Gaza through Egypt's Rafah border crossing.

The convoy left London on October 10 and arrived in Gaza on Thursday the 25th of Novmeber. It comprises of 30 vehicles and 101 humanitarian aid workers that include eight survivors of the Israeli attack on the Freedom Flotilla in May that killed nine people onboard.

The Egyptian negotiators first allowed three members of the convoy, including its leader, to enter the territory, Press TV correspondent, who was present at the Rafah border crossing, reported late Thursday.

The convoy leader told Press TV that the aid fleet crossed France, Spain, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya on its way to Gaza. In Libya, he said, "we were supposed to take delivery of the 'Al-Quds Five' part of the convoy, but, unfortunately, it was not ready".

Moreover, Libya failed to grant permission for the transit of the aid convoy through Egypt by land, leaving it stranded for nine days at the Libya-Egypt border.

"Then, because we were not able to go by road, we hired a Greek ship to go to El Arish port in Egypt", he said.

Greek commandos boarded the ship after the captain brought the group against their will to the port of Piraeus. "The captain 'kidnapped' the aid workers, accusing them of being illegal immigrants", he said. The aid workers later said that they were treated like terror suspects by the Greeks.

The convoy leader also said that the aid content included roughly USD 1 million worth of vehicles, medical aid, equipment for handicapped schools, educational material, blankets as well as toys for children.

Speaking from London, convoy spokeswoman Leyla-Rubaina Hyda said that only 37 members of the convoy had been allowed to enter the Gaza Strip.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Road to Hope Convoy nears Egypt on the way to GAZA

Martin Longhurst from Swansea Palestine Community Link is travelling with the Road to Hope Humanitarian Aid Convoy to GAZA. The Convoy left London on October the 10th and has travelled across France and Spain, crossing over into Morocco and travelling through Algeria and Tunisia (escorted by hostile Tunisian Police)into Libya. There they received a warm welcome and are now nearing the Libyan /Egyptian border. It can only be hoped that Egypt allows them safe passage to the Rafah Border Crossing into GAZA. Last January the Viva Palestina Convoy were met with violence at the hands of the Egyptian Police before finally being allowed to enter GAZA.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

The IDF, the Major Terrorist in the Middle East

The Israeli 'Defence' Force' attack of the Jewish ship 'Irene' on it's way to break the seige of GAZA, carrying only toys and medicine.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Israel Threatens to stop Jewish Boat from entering GAZA

Israel was adamant on Monday that its navy would stop a boatload of Jewish activists headed for Gaza if they insisted on trying to run the blockade of the coastal strip.

Foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said so far there had been no contact with the crew of the "Irene," which left Cyprus on Sunday, and he did not know its current position. He said that if the vessel headed for the Egyptian port of El-Arish or Ashdod in Israel it would be allowed to proceed unhindered.

"The intention is to establish radio contact with them and ascertain where they intend to go," Palmor told AFP. If they say Gaza, then we shall explain to them that to (sail) to Gaza is forbidden. If they insist on entering the banned zone, 20 miles (32 kilometres) off the Gaza coast, they will be stopped and taken to Ashdod," he said.

Yonatan Shapira, one of the seven activists on the small British-flagged sailing boat, told AFP by satellite phone on Sunday that they were not looking for a fight. We have a policy of non-violence and non-confrontation," said the former Israeli combat pilot. "But if the Israeli army stops the boat, we will not help them to take it to Ashdod."

Jews for Justice for Palestine sail to GAZA

A boat carrying Jewish activists from Israel, Germany, the US and Britain set sail today for Gaza, hoping to breach Israel's naval blockade there.

Richard Kuper, an organiser with the British group Jews for Justice for Palestinians, said one goal was to show that not all Jews supported Israeli policies toward Palestinians. Kuper said the boat, which set sail from northern Cyprus flying a British flag, would not resist Israeli authorities.

The voyage by the 10-metre catamaran Irene comes nearly four months after Israeli commandos boarded a flotilla of Gaza-bound ships, killing eight pro-Palestinian Turkish activists and a Turkish American aboard the Mavi Marmara.

Rami Elhanan, an Israeli passenger whose daughter Smadar was killed in a suicide bombing at a shopping mall in Jerusalem in 1997, said it was his "moral duty" to act in support of Palestinians in Gaza because reconciliation was the surest path to peace.

"Those 1.5 million people in Gaza are victims exactly as I am," Elhanan, 60, said.

Monday, 9 August 2010

'All Aboard the Mavi Marmara' song by US singer/songwriter Davic Rovics

This song is dedicated to the 9 unarmed Peace Activists who were shot (repeatedly)and killed by the Israeli Army in May. The activists were aboard the Turkish ship the 'Mavi Marmara' which was part of the 9-ship international 'Break the Siege of Gaza' Flotilla carrying medical aid, foodstuffs and cement to the besieged people of the GAZA Strip.

Other land convoys and flotillas are planned for the end of September and beginning of November. Supporters of Palestine in Swansea have begun fund-raising to send a Swansea man with the 'Road to Hope' Convoy.

If you would like to donate towards Medical Aid for the next Convoy, you can do so via the PayPal button on the left.

Monday, 2 August 2010

ISM Acitivists visit Swansea

2 International Solidarity Movement activists who had been arrested by the IDF in the West Bank gave a Talk and Slideshow in the Environment Centre last Friday the 30th of July.

Ryan Olander and Bridget Chappell have been speaking in cities across Europe, from Budapest to Stockholm about their experiences and observations from their time working with the ISM on the ground in Occupied Palestine.

Having spent time in an Israeli prison, they set a legal precedent by arguing in the Israeli courts that the policy of raiding Area A (Ramallah)to arrest International activists was illegal.

Nearly 40 people turned out on a rainy evening and were rewarded with a really inspiring presentation. Afterwards we shared tea and Palestinian food (thanks to those who contributed to that). For anyone who wants to know more about the International Solidarity Movement and about joining them in Palestine, go to http://palsolidarity.org

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

3-3 Palestine - Wales Match

Wales 3 - Palestine 3

The Inaugural Palestine-Wales Football Match that took place last Friday in Singleton Park resulted in a 3-3 Draw. The pace of the match was fast, furious and good-natured.

After the Match Players and Spectators had a picnic of Palestinian Falafel Sandwhiches and Welsh Cakes. Some of the Welsh players who meet regularly on Sundays for a match invited the Palestinians to join them, result!

The day was such a success that Swansea Palestine Community Link have decided to make it a yearly event. (Photo: Bob Cottrill)

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Swansea City Council Ban Future Contracts with VEOLIA

An historic decision was taken by Swansea City Council to bar future contracts with Veolia on the grounds of its illegal activities in the West Bank.

Swansea City Council approved the following resolution on Thursday June 17th 2010:

"The UN not only does not recognise Israel’s annexation and
occupation of East Jerusalem, but has repeatedly stated its view that
the Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank
contravene international law, and it has demanded that Israeli
settlement activities and occupation should not be supported.
The international trading company, Veolia, is a leading partner in a
consortium seeking to build a light railway system linking Israel to
illegal settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, a project that clearly
not only contravenes UN demands but is in contravention of
international law.

This Council therefore calls on the Leader & Chief Executive not to sign
or allow to be signed any new contracts or renewal of any existing
contracts with Veolia or any other company in breach of international
law, so long as to do so would not be in breach of any relevant

Veolia currently has contracts with the authority for local bus, park & ride to the tune of £699k per annum and home school to the tune of £238k per annum.

The passing of the resolution was very important in its own right, but we have since dicovered that this is the first resolution of its kind to have been passed by any UK authority, in that it makes explicit its reasons for ruling out any future contracts with Veolia. Other authorities have discontinued contracts with Veolia, but have not specified this reason. Swansea City Council is therefore leading the way with what is now seen as a landmark decision.

The resolution was put to the Council as the result of a campaign, in the course of which, all 72 councillors were mailed with details of Veolia's illegal activities. We were gratified with the level of cross part support for some kind of action to be taken and have since been in regular contact with councillors from nearly all parties who are actively pursuing the issue.

Swansea now leads a growing number of cities ready to take a moral stand against international lawbreakers. The list already includes Dublin, Stockholm and Melbourne and within the UK moves are already being made which would mean that other authorities follow Swansea's example.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Palestine V Wales 9th of July 2010 in Swansea

In order to celebrate the amazing continuing Resistence of not only the Palestinian Footballers but of all the Palestinian people, Swansea Palestine Community Link has organised a friendly match between the Welsh and the Palestinian's living in Swansea.

Help make the game a success by donating to the Palestinian Team's Shirts - just click on the donate button on the left.

Palestine sits modestly at 174th in the FIFA world rankings, held jointly with the Seychelles and Somalia. On October 26, 2008, the Palestinian men's football team played its first home match on national soil. Previous matches where they had officially been at home on the fixture list were played in neighbouring countries such as Jordan and Qatar.

Around 13 months later, in November of 2009, the cycle was completed when the
women's team were also able to play a home game. Both matches were played against
neighbouring Jordan and both finished in draws. 1-1 in the men's game, 2-2 in the

Palestine was presented with the FIFA Development Award in 2008, "in recognition of
the difficult task that it had accomplished in keeping football alive"

Football in GAZA faces its own particular problems, the captain of the national side, a Gazan, is unable to enter the West Bank, and currently lives and plays in Jordan. During Israel's onslaught on the Gaza Strip in December 2008 and January 2009, two footballers, Ayman Alkurd and Wajeh Moshate, were killed, as was Khalil abed Jaber, a member of the Palestinian Olympic Committee. The national stadium and the PFA headquarters were also destroyed.

Monday, 7 June 2010

'What is NOT ALLOWED' (in Gaza)


No tinned meat is allowed, no tomato paste,
no clothing, no shoes, no notebooks.

These will be stored in our warehouses at Kerem Shalom until further notice.
Bananas, apples, and persimmons are allowed into Gaza, peaches and dates, and now macaroni(after the American Senator’s visit).
These are vital for daily sustenance.

But no apricots, no plums, no grapes, no avocados, no jam. These are luxuries and are not allowed.
Paper for textbooks is not allowed.
The terrorists could use it to print seditious material.

And why do you need textbooks, now that your schools are rubble?
No steel is allowed, no building supplies, no plastic pipe. These the terrorists could use to launch rockets against us.
Pumpkins and carrots you may have, but no delicacies,
no cherries, no pomegranates, no watermelon, no onions, no chocolate.

We have a list of three dozen items that are allowed, but we are not obliged to disclose its contents. This is the decision arrived at by Colonel Levi, Colonel Rosenzweig, and Colonel Segal.

Our motto:
‘No prosperity, no development, no humanitarian crisis.’
You may fish in the Mediterranean, but only as far as three km from shore.
Beyond that and we open fire. It is a great pity the waters are polluted
twenty million gallons of raw sewage dumped into the sea every day is the figure given.

Our rockets struck the sewage treatments plants,
and at this point spare parts to repair them are not allowed.
As long as Hamas threatens us, no cement is allowed, no glass, no medical equipment.
We are watching you from our pilotless drones as you cook your sparse meals over open fires and bed down in the ruins of houses destroyed by tank shells.

And if your children can’t sleep, missing the ones who were killed in our incursion,
or cry out in the night, or wet their beds in your makeshift refugee tents,
or scream, feeling pain in their amputated limbs – that’s the price you pay for harbouring terrorists.

God gave us this land.
A land without a people for a people without a land.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

The day the world became Gaza By Ali Abunimah

Feelings have run particularly high in Turkey, at least four of whose nationals are believed
to have been killed

Since Israel's invasion and massacre of over 1,400 people in Gaza 18 months ago, dubbed Operation Cast Lead, global civil society movements have stepped up their campaigns for justice and solidarity with Palestinians.

Governments, by contrast, carried on with business as usual, maintaining a complicit silence.

Israel's lethal attack on the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza may change that, spurring governments to follow the lead of their people and take unprecedented action to check Israel's growing lawlessness.

You can read the full article on http://bit.ly/8ZgFDQ

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Isrealis Protest at their Governments Killing of Peace Activists

`Security cannot be built on the corpses of protesters!`
Social TV/Gush Shalom

More than 2000 people, old and young, gathered opposite the Ministry of Defense in Tel-Aviv, Israel, in a spontaneous demonstration of anger and protest.
Similar protests took place within hours after the bloody assault of the flotilla in
Ashdod, Jerusalem, Haifa and Be`er Sheba.
For the full article go to: http://zope.gush-shalom.org

Billboard Response to Israeli Flotilla Massacre

Early in the morning of May the 31th 2010, the Israeli Navy attacked an Aid Flotilla bound for GAZA and killed 16 people and wounded more than 50. This film is the reaction of some Swansea citizens.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

WitnessGAZA - Join us live as a witness in Gaza

WitnessGAZA - Join us live as a witness in GazaAs the Flotilla of boats near GAZA, you can follow them LIVE

The world is sitting up and at last beginning to take notice - yesterday the EU called on ISRAEL to end their illegal blockade and allow the boats carrying Humanitarian Aid through. See the report below.

End blockade of Gaza, EU tells Israel

'The European Union has called on Israel to immediately end the three-year blockade of Gaza and to allow the Freedom Flotilla to enter the enclave.

"The continued policy of closure is unacceptable and politically counterproductive," EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement on Friday.

"We would like to reiterate the EU's call for an immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza," she added.

The Freedom Flotilla, a multinational relief mission heading for the Gaza Strip, consists of nine vessels from Turkey, Ireland, Britain, and Greece that are currently off the coast of Cyprus.

Ashton made the remarks after Israel threatened to divert the flotilla to its southern port of Ashdod and to detain the activists onboard, AFP reported.

Israel has said it will not allow the ships to reach the Gaza Strip and has called the attempt to break the blockade a "cheap political stunt."

On Thursday, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky also urged Israel to "act with a sense of care" in dealing with the pro-Palestinian activists who are attempting to break the blockade of Gaza.

The Freedom Flotilla is carrying about 10,000 tons of supplies to the 1.5 million people of Gaza, who have endured many hardships during the three-year blockade.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

£500 worth of Cement from SWANSEA to GAZA

£500 was raised on Saturday night at Mozarts in Swansea (thanks to the DJs, Mozarts and Exotica) The money was wire-transferred to the Free Gaza Movement's bank account in Cyprus, where the ship The Rachel Corrie will be landing in a few days.

There, cement and other supplies will be taken on board to add to the already considerable cargo that was loaded before the newly painted ship left Dundalk in the Republic of Ireland on the 15th of May. It is still not too late to buy a bag of cement, just click on the Donate button on the left.

So much of Gaza still lies in ruins after the month-long Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip in 2008-2009 and Israel's vice-like grip allows nothing in but the most basic food stuffs carried by the U.N. Egypt rarely opens it's border crossing in the south, and getting materials through the tunnels is getting harder all the time.

Eight ships in all will sail from Cyprus to GAZA with the aim of breaking this cruel and illegal Israeli. We wish them luck.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Flotilla to break Gaza siege

On May 15th, an international flotilla of cargo and passenger ships will depart from various European ports and set sail for Gaza. 3 cargo ships will carry over 5,000 tonnes of medical and building supplies, and 5 passenger boats will carry over 600 people.

This flotilla is been led by the IHH charity from Turkey, and is supported by many groups worldwide, including the Free Gaza Movement, Free Palestine Movement, European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza and the Greek and Swedish Boat to Gaza groups amongst others.

In January of this year, IHH was an integral partner with Viva Palestina on the convoy to Gaza, where 500 people in over 200 vehicles successfully broke the siege on Gaza and delivered essential humanitarian aid.

The siege imposed on Gaza is now in it's 4th year. It has created a humanitarian crisis that has left the entire population without sufficient food, water, medicine, electricity, building supplies, clothes, toys, and freedom of movement.
1.5 million people, over half of whom are children, suffer directly because of this siege.

Since the attacks on Gaza last year that left over 1,400 people dead, and 50,000 people homeless, no building supplies have been allowed to enter Gaza. 15 months on, people still live in tents and temporary shelter, unable to rebuild their homes. Among others Viva Palestina will be taking part in this flotilla which will be bringing much needed humanitarian aid, and attempting to break the siege once more.
You can help by donating £5 to Viva Palestina for a bag of cement which will be bought in Turkey and loaded for GAZA there. Simply click on the DONATE button on the left.
Photo: The MV Rachel Corrie in Dundalk

Sunday, 14 March 2010

SWANSEA - GAZA Slide-show & Poetry Book Launch a big success

Swansea Palestine Community Link were delighted by the turnout at the Dylan Thomas Centre on the 24th of February. Over 100 people made up of family, friends and supporters of freedom for Palestine from across many different political affiliations and none, filled the Cinema. They were especially pleased by the number of Palestinians who came, asked questions and spoke. It was an inspiring night for all who were involved and was especially important to the women who drove the Ambulance from Swansea to Gaza, as it gave them the opportunity to thank all who supported them in so many different ways.

SPCL now want to focus their energy on pressurising supermarkets such as TESCO to stop selling Illegal Israeli Settlement produce. Anyone who wants to know more about this campaign can get in touch via the e-mail at the top of this blog.

Monday, 22 February 2010

A Fistful of Poetry

Richard Jones will launch his new book of poetry at the Dylan Thomas Centre on Wendesday 24th at 7.30pm.

Richard is twice winner of the English Medal at the University of Wales Eisteddfod. Vanished into 'chalk Siberia' for 29 years. Re-emerged scarred but intact. He is published in the New Welsh Review and Roundyhouse. A Fistful of Poetry, his well established blog, is being followed by 'A Fistful of Poetry' the book.
Gilad Atzmon, the world-renowned jazz saxophonist and author, who is a strong supporter of Palestine wrote in the book's introduction:

'To write a poem is to defy the symbolic order. To write a poem is to resist. To write a poem is to say NO to oppression. To write a poem is to put yourself in the place of the other. Richard Jones is a poet of Resistance.'

All proceeds from which will go to medical aid for Palestinians.

SWANSEA - GAZA Slide-show

The Lord Mayor of Swansea, Alan Lloyd, who has himself been to GAZA, will introduce the ‘Swansea to Gaza’ Slide-show and Poetry Book Launch on Wednesday 24th of February, 7.30p at the Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea Marina

Commented Slide-show by the three Swansea Aunties, Ingrid, Janet & d. who drove an ex-Social Services ambulance to GAZA. This will be followed by a Q&A Session

Poems from ‘A Fistful of Poetry’, the new book by Richard Jones, dedicated
to the People of Palestine, will be read by Helen Griffin and Joe Furlong.

And Phil Broadhurst from Oxfam will read his short piece: ‘Stories of Hope &
Inspiration - A journey with the Swansea-Palestine Blog’

SWANSEA PALESTINE COMMUNITY LINK Stall will be selling Fair-Trade
Palestinian Products.


Help towards transport costs for Asylum Seekers (bring your bus or taxi
receipt). For more details speak to Tom Cheesman or Ingrid B at the
Swansea Drop-ins (SBASSG) or on the night.
Hope to see you there.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

MEP demands Egyptian apology for Swansea deportations

Wales’ Plaid MEP has met with officials in Egypt to demand an explanation for the deportation of three Swansea women. Jill Evans has just returned from a fact finding mission to the Middle East where she raised the case. Ms Evans said the Egyptians claimed that the Swansea women had been trouble-makers. But their MEP maintains the only purpose of their trip was to deliver aid to Gaza. Jill Evans now wants an official apology from the Egyptian authorities.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Home at last - Mission Completed.

Ingrid, Janet and d. having left Swansea together on the 5th of December 2009, returned seperately - thanks to the Egyptian Government - between the 10th & 12th of Janurary 2010.

Those of you following this blog will know of the many unexpected obstacles they faced before they were able to hand over the Passenger Ambulance and Humanitarian Aid donated by the people of Swansea to the people of Gaza.

And they would like to say a special Thanks here to Paul O'Connor from Undercurrents who did such a great job keeping the blog up-dated. Looking at it now, they realise that those reading it often knew more than the they did themselves!

In the next week or two SWANSEA PALESTINE COMMUNITY LINK will be holding a night with the Aunites, which will include a slide show, and there will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions. So we hope to see you there.

Photos - Welcome to GAZA and Sitting in the Ambulance for the last time in Gaza City.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Was the convoy worth it?

Al Jazeera TV host a debate about the political move of the Viva Palestina convoy. So was it worth it and could it have been handled differently?

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Coming Home

The Swansea aunties will be put on a flight from Cairo to Heathrow today landing at 12.30pm. Hooray!

Saturday, 9 January 2010

We need your help- we are being held in Cairo airport

50 of us are still imprisoned in a small section of terminal 4 at Cairo(International). No drinking water is provided to us until we met with someone from British Consulate at 6.00pm (2pmGMT), we had no free access to toilet facilities or food.
The authorities have informed the British consulate that we are deported from Egypt, but no evidence is produced as to why. The British representatives agree that this is collective punishment.
There is no reason why, having obtained Egyptian visa, we should not be able to leave the airport. We, as detainees, have requested a visit from the Red Crescent. This has been refused.We have also requested bedding for the night, but this has been refused too. So we will have to sleep on the cold hard marble floor in bright light and regular loud airport announcements.

Breaking News- We have just spoken with D
D and Ingrid are being held with 40 others at Cairo airport in a small room with only 1 toilet. They are not allowed to leave the airport. They are being officially deported (yet have committed no crime) and they are still being forced to pay for their own flights.

Their passports have been seized and they haven't been fed or been provided water since 4am.

However due to weather, flights are scarce and pressure is being put upon them to pay for expensive Egyptian airlines flights.

We need your support to phone the Foreign and Commonwealth office in London on 0207 0081500 to increase the pressure to get the Swansea women into a hotel until flights are available.

When you phone, explain you are calling about the Gaza convoy volunteers being detained at Cairo airport in uncomfortable conditions. Ask what are they doing about getting the women released.

Important-D is traveling under her Irish name Marie Ni Mhurchu. Ingrid Bousquet from Swansea is also with her

Cairo airport departures board

Being held in Cairo airport

D text from Cairo (we assume the airport)
Egypt not being helpful. No food or drink since 4am. Hope to get out of here tonight.
we have heard other word that people can't board a BA flight and next flight not til Tue and they can't leave airport!

Heated arguments have erupted as authorities attempt to send home some 500 international activists who were part of an aid convoy to the blockaded Gaza Strip, a Cairo airport security official said today.The official said many activists could not pay for their (probably extortionate) plane tickets and the Foreign Ministry was asking their respective embassies to foot the bill.

Meanwhile Egyptian authorities have announced that all aid convoys travelling to Gaza will be banned from traveling across Egypt

TV report of handing over aid to charities in Gaza

Friday, 8 January 2010

Near Cairo now

Spent all day crossing border from Rafah into Egypt. Now in coach near Cairo. Rumour is that first group 2 get there were deported. Egyptians are so kind, if you deliver aid to Gaza you’ll get a free flight home. Well you’ll be beaten & then deported – sound appealing?

Galloway reflects upon the Egypt 'dictatorship'

Swansea Aunties leaving Rafah now

Word just in from the Swansea Aunties who have left Gaza
'It has been mad here but we achieved our goal. Rumours abound that some will be arrested, we will all be arrested, we will all be deported.'

Convoy members will be deported from Egypt- Irish group say

One of the casualties of the airstrike
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.

The attacks killed three Palestinians, including a 14-year-old boy, and wounded two others. Palestinian medical sources named the dead as Abu Heesh Odai (14), Naser Al-Mahmum (22) and Barakat Abu Shalouf. All three were reportedly killed when missiles hit two tunnels near the Rafah crossing with Egypt. These tunnels provide a life-line for Gazans who have faced an Israeli-imposed blockade for the past three years.

Three sites near Gaza City and two near the southern town of Khan Younis were also hit by missiles, striking empty buildings and open spaces, according to witnesses and Hamas officials. One missile struck near a school, another landed close to a sports club and another hit a building in the An-Nuseirat refugee camp in Gaza City.

In the wake of the attacks, the members of the Viva Palestina convoy were told by Egyptian authorities that they must leave Gaza. The convoy members, including all the Irish participants, complied with this request – with the exception of Caoimhe Butterly who has elected to remain in Gaza to continue her humanitarian work.

George Galloway at London Heathrow Airport

Press TV interview with George Galloway at London Heathrow Airport after being deported from Egypt.

Women break siege in Gaza with medical aid from Swansea

Press Release
Women break siege in Gaza with medical aid from Swansea

A month after leaving Swansea, 3 aunties from the city drove their van across the Gaza border in the Middle East.

Their epic journey across Europe, Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Egypt involved sleeping rough, driving through snow blizzards, police riots and even an emergency landing in a plane. But finally the Swansea van packed with medical aid, crutches and wheelchairs crossed the Rafah border into Gaza to cheers from besieged Palestinians.

The 12 seat van, which has disabled access will be donated to a hospital in Gaza.Despite international people touring inside Gaza, Israel sent in air strikes firing rockets into Gaza last night.

Convoy driver and NUJ member D Murphy said
‘I have a few bruises and a sore rib from the Egyptian Police attack. We have been given just one day in Gaza. We met fantastic people and wish we could stay, but Egypt is planning to deport every member of the humanitarian aid convoy today'

British MP George Galloway was deported from Cairo earlier today.

This time last year Israel bombed the people of Gaza for 23 days and nights killing 1400 including women and children. The borders have since been closed allowing little medical aid to treat the many wounded.

Daily updates, photos and videos from the convoy are on
Media contact 07973 298359

Reasons why Egypt is hard on Gaza

Two other factors seem to have been decisive in convincing Cairo to bend to American and Israeli pressure and close the vice on Gaza's Palestinians, along with those who support them. The first was a US threat to cut hundreds of millions of dollars of aid unless it cracked down on arms and other smuggling. The second is the need for US acquiescence in the widely expected hereditary succession of Mubarak's ex-banker son, Gamal, to the presidency. So, far from protecting its sovereignty, the Egyptian government has sold it for continued foreign subsidy and despotic dynastic rule, sacrificing any pretence to its historic role of Arab leadership in the process.
read more

At the Rafah border as Egypt puts the pressure on

Egypt wants to arrest 11 people but convoy members are now on the Palestine side of the Rafah border about to be briefed. Just got our passports. There’s a chance members exit from EGY may be in form of formal deportation and not a visitor’s departure

Tour of Gaza City shows destruction left by Israeli assaults n shows resilience of Gaza society and uncompromising resistance of government. Amidst spirit of endurance, people live with constant reminders of Israeli brutality such as the boom of sonic bombs fired even as i write this!

Democracy Now Tv report- interview with George Galloway from Gaza

MP George Galloway deported from Egypt

Plainclothes Egyptian police officers bundled George Galloway on to a plane bound for London.George Galloway was deported from Cairo today despite wanting to return to Gaza to help members of a humanitarian convoy who have reportedly been arrested, a spokeswoman for the convoy said.

Plain clothes police officers bundled the Respect MP on to a plane bound for London, said a spokeswoman for the Viva Palestina convoy.
BBC report here

Swansea Aunties inside Gaza

Latest news from the Swansea Aunties who are now walking around Gaza.

Just one day in Gaza. Met fantastic people. Wish we could stay, but Egypt insisting on evacuating all to Cairo airport today. All sorts of rumours. Egypt wanting to give trouble. Threatening to arrest all those who were released in El-Arish and maybe more .
All convoy members are being ordered to return to Egypt border and risk being arrested for the riots earlier this week.

Despite international people touring inside Gaza, Israel sent in air strikes firing rockets into Gaza

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Long Live Palestine- the Rap song

As the celebrations continue in Gaza, Rapper and poet Lowkey is storming the charts with his track Long Live Palestine. If you DOWNLOAD NOW (for as little as 59p) the song could get Long Live Palestine to number one.

The single is released one year after Israel devastated the Gaza strip with countless bombing raids and ground infantry attacks, leaving thousands of civilians dead, wounded or homeless.

DOWNLOAD IT NOW | Only 2 days left!
http://bit.ly/6BjsHv - iTunes (Song No.3)

http://bit.ly/7AILEC - Amazon (UK)

http://bit.ly/52cmcw - Play

http://bit.ly/8fvAsb - HMV (Song No.2)

- Tesco (Song No.3)

http://musicstore.orange.co.uk/lowkey/long-live-palestine-parts-1-&-2/aft22783753art987897 Orange music store (orange customers can buy from here)

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Al Jazeera tv report with Galloway in Gaza

TV report of first vehicles croosing

News from Swansea Aunties

The Swansea Van twittered an hour ago
Very slowly we are moving out to Rafah. Many still at port, but first vehicles to leave are already in Gaza. It's finally happening!

D said
I have a few bruises and a sore rib from last night. We are still in the Port of Arish and going slowly. We can't wait now.

Watch the convoy entering Gaza Live on Press TV

Click here to watch the convoy reports

Convoy enters Gaza

31d 07h 02m 26s from London to Gaza

PressTV webreport

The Viva Palestina aid convoy entered Gaza Wednesday, after it received the approval of Egyptian authorities to bring into the besieged, impoverished coastal sliver several tons of humanitarian supplies.

The activists entered Gaza through Rafah border crossing. More than 500 international activists accompany the convoy organized by the British-based group Viva Palestina, a Press TV correspondent reported.

Fifty-nine vehicles were not be allowed into the strip but the supplies were unloaded and taken through by the activists.

The Egyptian approval came after activists and security forces clashed earlier in the day when Cairo refused to allow part the aid convoy to pass through its land to the Hamas-ruled territory.

More than 55 activists and over a dozen members of the security forces were injured in the clashes. Some sixty convoy-members were also arrested.

Gaza has been under a tight Israeli blockade since June 2007 when the democratically elected Hamas took control of the area. Egypt has come under fire from Arab and Muslim groups for cooperating with Israel.

British lawmaker George Galloway, who is accompanying the convoy, said that the activists had been forced to renegotiate with the Egyptian authorities.

"We refused this because it's a breach of the agreement which we reached in Aqaba between the government of Egypt and the Turkish side," he said. "It is completely unconscionable that 25 percent of our convoy should go to Israel and never arrive in Gaza, because nothing that goes to Israel ever arrives in Gaza."

Egyptian authorities had also refused the convoy entry into the country from the Red Sea, forcing it to change course to a Mediterranean port.

Convoy at Rafah border

News coming is that the convoy is entering Rafah now- an excited convoy member Ahmed Hashem twittered 'I'm in Rafah NOW.Viva Palestina Convoy members are entering Gaza NOW.'

Exactly one month after we left London, we've finally arrived at the Rafah Gate. Now the real journey begins - into Gaza.

15 convoy members who were held by the police last night have been released. Their prison was a van outside our compound.

Convoy is on the roll again to Gaza

Convoy is moving at less than snail's pace through gates of port compound, bound for Gaza. Every passport being checked.

Joti wrote her latest article for New Internationalist about the journey, the riot and the rod to gaza. Read it here

Newspaper reports

The Guardian report
The Independent
Palestine Telegraph

Rafah border- 1 shot dead

Tensions at the Rafah border has escalated.
Palestinians protested the attack on the convoy which then developed into a battle with Egyptian soldiers at the Rafah border. 1 soldier was shot dead during clashes at rally protesting attack on aid convoy and construction of new underground wall.

Candle Vigil for Gaza in Cardiff on Jan 18th

Monday, January 18, 2010
5:30pm - 7:00pm
Nye Bevan Statue, Queen Street, Cardiff (opposite Castle)

5.30 - 7 pm, Monday 18 January at the Nye Bevan Statue, Queen Street, Cardiff (opposite Castle)

Between 27/12/08 and 18/01/09 the Israeli military fell like wolves upon Gaza bombing hospitals, ambulances, housing apartments, universities and schools resulting in the the death of 1400 people, over a third of these children: Another episode in six decades of war, occupation, ethnic cleanising, colonisation, racism and dispossession the most powerful states in the West have inflicted upon the people of Palestine.

Onwards to Gaza

The convoy is sill planning and negoating to get the convoy into Gaza and to break the siege. Gaza border is just 50km away.

Latest news is that we've been told we'll have 48 hours in Gaza, but negotiation still ongoing about how many of our vehicles we can take in. After a meeting, the convoy has accepted to leave 59 vehicles behind and let Turkey to hold them

PressTV news report this morning

Reuters (india)
reports the clashes

Sky News Report

Sky News report

Waiting to go to Gaza today

Twitters from inside the port
It's 415am here. We been camping in our vehicles. Some took refuge in the mosque. Riot police still outside gate + 3 water cannon trucks

Uneasy truce since last nite. Still heavy presence of riot police n our exit barricaded. Were promised exit to Gaza at 8am - but no sign ...

Media coverage of clashes

Amongst the arrests, 3 Americans and 2 UK nationals.The medical aid destined for Gaza is now being used to treat the head wounds of the volunteers. Egyptian Police are still surrounding the port with batons.

Sky TV report includes interview with George Galloway MP

A video news report from Turkey about the Police attacks.

Another Turkish TV report is here

BBC report of Clashes

Egyptian Riot Police - Viva Palestina Photo

The last Twitter stated
# joti2gaza: Swansea crew all fine. Off looking for quiet places to sleep. xxjb - 01/06/2010

A riot is what it takes for the BBC to report the convoy. This is what they reported-

Egypt police clash with Gaza aid convoy activists

More than 50 people have been hurt in clashes between Egyptian police and pro-Palestinian activists seeking to take a convoy of supplies to Gaza.

Protests reportedly broke out when Egyptian authorities at the port city of Al Arish ordered some lorries to go via an Israeli-controlled checkpoint...read more

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Injuries of convoy members

Latest news from the Port is from Joti
'All quiet for now. Six arrested, lots of head wounds as cops started the rock throwing. One serious injury stretchered out.'

Riot Police attack convoy

Kevin Ovenden, Viva Palestina Convoy Leader released the following press release today
Our situation is now at a crisis point! Riot has broken out in the port of Al- Arish.This late afternoon we were negotiating with a senior official from Cairo who left negotiations some two hours ago and did not return. Our negotiations with the official was regarding taking our aid vehicles into Gaza.

He left two hours ago and did not come back. Egyptian authorities called over 2,000 riot police who then moved towards our camp at the port.We have now blocked the entrance to the port and we are now faced with riot police and water cannons and are determined to defend our vehicles and aid.

The Egyptian authorities have by their stubbornness and hostility towards the convoy, brought us to a crisis point.

We are now calling upon all friends of Palestine to mount protests in person where possible, but by any means available to Egyptian representatives, consulates and Embassy’s and demand that the convoy are allowed a safe passage into Gaza tomorrow!

Joti is with the Swansea women wrote
'Full-on battles between convoy boys and Egyptian riot cops. Tear gas, water cannons, rocks throwing.' and Riot cops have moved their barriers and look to be gearing up 4 a fight. Our boys preparing to defend the port.

Supporters in the UK are contacting the Egyptian Embassy in the UK on 02074993304. One woman said 'When I asked them why the convoy was not allowed through they just said ring back in the morning. I'll keep ringing!'

Plane engines fail on route to Egypt

Press Release:
Swansea Aid volunteers in emergency plane landing

At 8.30am today, a plane left Latakia Airport in Syria carrying 3 women from Swansea and dozens of volunteers bringing aid to Gaza.Shortly after takeoff, the passengers head three loud bangs during the next half hour, and then the captain's announcement:

'We are sorry to inform you, that due to one of our two engines failing, we will be making an emergency landing at Damascus Airport"

Following a bumpy ride, the small plane managed to land safely in Damascus airport with one engine. The plane was on route to El Arish airport in Egypt where the passengers will rejoin the vehicles of aid they have carried from Swansea and other parts of the UK. They will then drive the 30mile to the Rafah border.

Egypt has already blocked the convoy from entering Egypt once, forcing a three day detour. This promoted a hunger strike at the border. Many are considering their options if Egypt once again refuses entry for the 250 vehicle convoy carrying medical aid to the people of Gaza.

Convoy driver D Murphy of Mount Pleasant, Swansea said today from Damascus
'We are now awaiting a replacement plane, which will be leaving Cyprus shortly, and we should be leaving for Egypt again in about 3 hours.I for one feel like I've been spun around very fast, and now have no idea which way I am facing.'

Notes to editors
Full details and photos of the convoy are on

Monday, 4 January 2010

Egypt further encaging Gaza

As the one year anniversary of the 23-day Israeli massacre in Gaza passes, media attention is rightfully focused on the atrocities and war crimes committed by the Israeli military on the imprisoned population in Gaza.

With two separate delegations intending to enter the Gaza Strip via its southern, Egyptian-controlled Rafah crossing, Egypt now finds itself in the spotlight for have banned entry to one convoy, Viva Palestina's humanitarian aid convoy traveling from Jordan, and having threatened to arrest and deport international activists with another delegation, the Gaza Freedom March in Cairo.

But further reasons bring Egypt to the spotlight: what many observers say is Egypt's complicity in the siege on Gaza, imposed since shortly after Hamas was elected in early 2006; Egypt's deafening silence as the Israeli assault on Gaza raged one year ago; and the new steel wall Egypt is having constructed along its border with Gaza.
While the cranes, drills and machinery being used range from Norwegian, Japanese and Egyptian companies, it is widely believed that the plans and financing for the wall come from the US.

Recently, the US consular in Egypt confirmed that the US is supporting the Egyptian government's building of the underground wall -- both technologically and monetarily. Egypt is second only to Israel in receiving the greatest amount of US foreign aid, not considering funds related to the US occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
See exclusive photos of the steel wall on the Gaza border.

We need your donations!

Since Egypt forced the convoy to turn back and drive another 500 miles through Syria, we have had to pay for the extra fuel and travel to get the convoy to Gaza. We are so close now to giving hope and medical aid to the people who need it most.

If you felt for the Palestinian people when they were bombed out of their homes this last last year, please please donate what money you can. Just click here to donate

Leaving Syria today

PFLP - Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - Socialists, provided the entertainment for our last day in Syria.

Photo:Ingrid in a 'service' (taxi) going into the Centre of Latikia to go an internet cafe the for the last time in Syria

Photo:Leaving the Palestinian Refugee Camp

We are finally leaving Syria - having first entered on the 20th of December, on schedule to reach Gaza on 27th, and having re-entered Syria on the 29th of December we are FINALLY leaving today - the 4th of January.This is the date most of us expected to be returning home by, but the Egyptians put paid to that.

The first shuttle flight is due to leave at 4pm today, with a 4-hour turn-around, our Team, 'C' is due out on the second run at 8pm. George Galloway flies out on the final flight at 4am tomorrow morning.

The GREAT news is that All the vehicles have passed through customs - so we should be re-united with them. It's hard to describe the mood today -you'd think we'd all be elated - jumping with joy - at this news, but we have all grown a little cynical over the last few weeks, so it's a matter of 'WE'LL BELIEVE IT WHEN WE SEE IT!'

But if it proves to be TRUE, then we will be only 30 miles from GAZA tomorrow! The moment we cross that Rafah crossing with our Vehicles and Aid, THEN there will be Joy! So cross fingers for us, pray for us, send out good wishes for us - we will need them all.

From d, for the Aunties to Gaza.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

TV report about Egypt and the boat

Boat has docked in Egypt

News just in is that the ferry has docked safely in Egypt, and is going through customs. We fly tomorrow. So close, so close.

We now have verbal but not written assurance that convoy people will be allowed to land in Al-Arish tomorrow. Plane will have to shuttle 4 times to get us all over into Egypt.

TV report

Saturday, 2 January 2010

so Near and yet SO FAR

The vehicles left the port today at seven - it was a time of very mixed emotions - elation, knowing that tomorrow they will be on Egyptian soil, SO close to GAZA, and deep anxiety that the Egyptian authorities won't honour their promises to us, and we will never see them again!

We hope to fly from here to El Arish tomorrow, but we are still waiting clearance from Egypt, so it may be Monday - this is a nail biting time -so Near and yet SO FAR!

TV report about ship

Latest update on ship

This is according to a report from Aljazeera Arabic this morning who have a reporter
accompanying the convey:

The Turkish ship, small enough to enter Al Arish port will be loaded with cars and 12
activists ONLY today, it will sail today afternoon to Al Arish. The ship was
diverted from the Lebanese port of Tripoli after Turkish officials intervened.
Only 12 activist were allowed on board "in accordance" with naval law!

*Several planes will arrive to Latikia city tomorrow to transport the remaining

It is worth reminding everyone that the Egyptian foreign minister Ahmad Abu-al Ghait
have threatened few days ago that the Rafah crossing will only be opened from the
3rd of Jan to the 6th of Jan and that if the convey doesn't arrive by the 3rd to
Rafah they will NOT allow it in.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Awaiting sailing time to Egypt

Arriving at Latakia - with our new mascot - possibly the only way to sneak
a child's toy into Gaza - so each vehicle has taken one.

We are in the northwestern city of Latakia - Syria - as you prob already
know, staying in a strange run down summer camp by the sea, at the edge of
Latakia's Palestinian Refugee Camp - some came here after the NABKA of
'48, but many more in '67. As we roamed the camp this morning, a woman
cleaning her step brought us in for coffee. She had been born in Haifa
but fled with her family to Gaza in '48, then to here in 67. She said
'I'm a refugee twice over' and then she cried.

This is definitely the hardest - but maybe i've said this before - all
those old women who come and kiss you over and over, hold you tight, their
eyes brimming - 'give me love to Gaza' they say 'and to the little
children there' 'tell them we want to come there' 'we hearts are with
them there all the time'

It's tough emotionally, you want to cry with them, and sometimes we do,
but it's their grief not ours, and I think sometimes my tears are tears of
shame that the West, our Governments are colluding, even actively
supporting the Siege of Gaza and the great injustice that is the
Occupation of Palestine.

But the Egyptian Government continues to play sick games with the Convoy,
and as we wait we can't help but wonder what use a Fighter can find for
some baby clothes and cloth nappies.

You probably know more than me - we are waiting for a cargo ship to take
the vehicles, and we will fly on a 153 seater to a tiny airstrip near El
Arish on Sunday - shuttle service, and they could only find one plane.

Can't wait to get to Egypt, now we are beginning to feel like nomads
destined to roam the Middle east forever, dragging our pitiful Aid behind
us. We passed the 4,000 mile mark in Damascus - what a wonderful little
bus we have!