By John Parker, Workers World, July 15, 2009
* Viva Palestina delegation faces hurdles
* Photos: We are in Gaza!
Gaza, Palestine — The largest humanitarian aid convoy in history to travel from the U.S. to Palestine succeeded in crossing the Rafah border into Gaza late today. After days of delay, the 218-person contingent of activists, buoyed by telegrams, emails and protests from many parts of the world, was finally allowed to pass into the besieged Palestinian enclave with more than $1 million in wheelchairs, walkers and medical supplies for the people of Gaza.
A genocidal attack on Gaza in December and January, on top of a two-year Israeli siege and blockade of the area, prompted British Member of Parliament George Galloway to organize the Viva Palestina caravans as a way to provide essential aid to a people under occupation who have been denied the most basic necessities of life.
The fact that this caravan hails from the U.S. gives it added resonance, as Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. government aid in the world. And Israel uses U.S. weapons and missiles against the Palestinian people on a daily basis.
The delegation received a heroes’ welcome from the people of Gaza. Its members include Galloway, New York City Council Member Charles Barron and former U.S. Congressperson Cynthia McKinney, who was imprisoned just a few weeks earlier by Israeli forces for attempting to bring aid into Gaza by sea with the Free Gaza Movement. Also participating are representatives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Middle East Children’s Alliance, Cuba Coalition, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA), International Action Center, the Answer Coalition, International Socialist Organization and Workers World Party.
— John Parker, of the International Action Center, is in Gaza with the Viva Palestina Aid Convoy.