The Road to Hope humanitarian aid convoy continues its role in the international community’s collective mission to break the illegal siege of Gaza and deliver desperately needed aid to the people of Palestine in Gaza. The convoy comprises 30 vehicles and 101 humanitarian aid workers. Among them are 8 survivors of the Israeli attack on the Freedom Flotilla, 7 of them were aboard the Mavi Marmara, including Ken O’Keefe who was involved in disarming two Israeli commandos. The convoy has travelled four and a half thousand miles and is currently located at the Libyan / Egyptian border. As it stands the convoy finds itself at a standstill, with direct communication with the outside world being limited, and access to the internet very difficult.
It has always been a central aspect of the Road to Hope convoy that it acts in a non-political, non-confrontational manner. To work with and cooperate with every government in every country through which it travelled. Thus far this approach has rewarded it with exceptional receptions in every nation. All of the North African governments have been extremely accommodating and the people of each nation even more so. We must give special praise to the Libyan government for its constant support; when the convoy have had challenges, including breakdowns of vehicles, the authorities here have provided the means to repair those vehicles and continue our mission.
Ken O’Keefe: “Now we find ourselves in our third day at the Libyan / Egyptian border and we remain hopeful that the land route will be opened to us in the coming days”. The convoy departed from London with the understanding that the land crossing through Egypt had not been closed to it. Convoy leader, Kieran Turner: “One reason for our optimism that we will travel the land route is the fact that the Al Quds convoy, a Libyan convoy also delivering aid to Gaza, is set to travel the land route in the coming days. For several weeks we have hoped to join our convoys and travel together.” However, the convoy is awaiting permission from the Egyptian authorities to pass through Egypt in this way.
Mr. Turner understands that there is a possibility the Egyptian government will deny the convoy the land route, in which case they will have only two acceptable options —
1) To press on via the land border without permission, at which time our only chance of success will be by way of significant international pressure and a reversal of a policy which tacitly supports the illegal siege of Gaza.
2) If the land route is denied the only remaining option is to deliver our aid by sea. This option inherently requires significant increases in the cost of our mission, and importantly, to all subsequent aid missions. The end result of this policy is a reduction in the already limited resources that can be brought to bear for the people of Palestine.
The convoy leadership urge the Egyptian authorities to allow us safe passage to Gaza by land in the coming days, allow the convoy to join the Al Quds convoy, and ultimately increase the “easing” of the blockade which continues to collectively punish the people of Gaza.
Mr. Ken O’Keefe calls on all the supporters of Palestine “to support Road to Hope and the Al Quds convoys by spreading awareness of our missions and encouraging Egyptian cooperation”.
Primary contact: London – Eleanor Merton +44 777 037 6701
Libya / Egypt – Kieran Turner +44 779 22 66 111 (interviews in Libya available if the roaming costs are covered.)
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|Timothy V. Gatto|