Monday, January 3, 2011

Asia to Gaza Solidarity Caravan - Breaking the Siege Update

January 2, 2011 Update:

The convoy of the Asia to Gaza Solidarity Caravan activists dedicated to breaking the illegal Israeli siege on Gaza successfully completed its journey of 4,200 miles to the Gaza strip early in the morning on January 3, 2011 via the Rafah crossing from Egypt. This convoy consists of 120 people from more than 15 countries including India, Japan and New Zealand.

The journey of these courageous activists was three-fold in nature and consisted of travel by plane (from Latakia to El Arish), with a convoy on the ground, as well as by aid ship Salam (carrying food and medicine) – this journey was undertaken via Iran, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt.

The aid ship, carrying 8 Asia to Gaza activists, has not yet arrived in Gaza as permission was not yet received to dock in El Arish, Egypt. Current requirements dictated by Egypt include a docking fee ($10,000), in addition of entry fees for the activists ($6,000) as well as hotel charges ($12,000). As the aid ship has been barred from docking in El Arish, activists have now been confined to the ship for approximately 60+ hours and conditions are worsening as activists are experiencing stress, sea sickness, and one of the activists has a heart condition. In addition they are now also running out of food and water. Egypt has to date insisted on these conditions, despite an attempted hunger strike (in protest of the barring of the aid ship) by approximately 100 Asia to Gaza convoy activists located at the airport at the time.

Prior to this ship’s immediate approach of the Egyptian port of El Arish, Israeli commandos intercepted and entered the ship illegally in international waters (70 miles outside of El Arish) to inquire about and investigate the crew and 8 activists on board. No one was, however, detained. Once leaving the Asia to Gaza aid ship, Israeli commandos escorted the aid ship to Egypt.

All information provided in this article was provided courtesy of @Asia2Gaza.

For further information please follow the @Asia2Gaza twitter account, which is in direct contact with both the convoy and the aid ship.

For further information/articles/videos please go to:

Asia 1 aid convoy reaches Gaza

Asian Convoy Comes to Gaza

Asia 1 aid convoy reaches Palestinians - BBC

European activists visit massive war exhibit in Gaza  

Asia 1 convoy arrives in Gaza    

January 4, 2011 Update:


On January 3, 2011, after a total of 65 hours of travel/waiting, the Asia to Gaza aid ship was permitted to dock for the outrageous fee of $10,000 at the port of El Arish. However, on January 4, 2011 Asia to Gaza Solidarity Caravan activists were informed that the Egyptian government had decided to hand over all Asia to Gaza aid (consisting of medicines, school materials and food) to Israel for approval prior to entry into Gaza.

Asia to Gaza Solidarity Caravan activists already in Gaza met to determine how to address Egypt's disgraceful act of handing over Asia to Gaza aid materials to Israel. Representatives of the Asia to Gaza Solidarity Caravan spoke on Press TV ( to convey information regarding the current situation and decisions taken by the group.

Later on during the day, the Egyptian government permitted the removal of approximately 30% of aid materials to be taken to Gaza with the 8 Asia to Gaza Solidarity Caravan activists. This aid was transported to Gaza using 4 ambulances. The rest of the aid (300 tons remained on the Salam docked in El Arish) was deemed subject to approval by the Israeli government.  

January 5, 2011 Update:


After three days of extensive negotiations, the 30% aid transferred by the activist traveling by aid ship and subsequently via 4 ambulances did indeed reach Gaza. Due to intensive negotiations by the Asia to Gaza Solidarity Caravan activists, the remaining 300 tons were also transferred to Gaza a few days later. Despite earlier signs, none of the aid was subjectedc to Israeli approval/inspection and entered Gaza via the Rafah crossing as was eventually negotiated with the Egyptian government

Congratulations to the Asia to Gaza Solidarity Caravan activists for this enormously successful effort! They did an amazing job!!! May subsequent convoys and flotilla's follow in their footsteps!

~Sofia Smith

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