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.

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!