Yesterday a delegation of senior British parliamentarians, Muslim figures and Palestinian solidarity leaders in the UK presented a letter to the Egyptian Ambassador Hatem Seif El Nasr to London concerning the obstruction to the Viva Palestina convoy and the blockade of Gaza. The letter was handed in by Baroness Jenny Tonge (Lib Dem), Martin Linton (Labour) and Jeremy Corbyn (Labour). The following is the full text of the letter:
“We are writing to urge your assistance to ensure that the people of Gaza receive the medical aid which British and European citizens have worked hard to provide for the Palestinian people suffering under Israeli siege in the Gaza Strip. Hundreds of people are stuck in Aqaba with 210 aid vehicles waiting for Egyptian permission to travel to Rafah and cross into Gaza.
It is one year since Israel launched its ‘Operation Cast Lead’, a horrific attack on the defenceless people of Gaza resulting in the deaths of 1,400 people, thousands of injured and the destruction of homes, workplaces, schools and hospitals. The ongoing illegal and inhuman blockade on the Gaza Strip is now in its third year. This blockade which denies spare parts and building materials as well as food and medicines to the people of Gaza amounts to collective punishment, an action which is prohibited under international law and constitutes a crime against humanity.
While governments have remained inactive in their response to the violations by Israel, people of conscience around the world have been moved to work tirelessly to support the people of Gaza. The Viva Palestina/Palestine Solidarity Campaign convoy has been travelling from Britain and through Europe since 6th December to deliver aid and solidarity on the anniversary of the attack on Gaza, an attack which constituted war crimes according to the UN Goldstone Report .
We understand that the Egyptian government is imposing conditions on the convoy of 210 aid vehicles which make it impossible for them to leave Aqaba to deliver the ambulances packed with medical aid and the aid trucks with food and educational materials.
We represent British organizations seeking a just solution for the people of Palestine and as such we support the work of Viva Palestina which is a UK registered charity that was formed earlier this year to provide humanitarian relief for the people of Gaza. The two previous convoys, which entered Gaza via Eqypt in March and February this year, successfully delivered hundreds of tonnes of desperately needed aid through the Rafah crossing.
Alas, the actions of the Egyptian government in preventing the delivery of this international aid appears to be supporting Israel’s blockade of Gaza.
We are also gravely concerned by reports of Egypt’s construction of a steel wall to seal off the besieged territory and close the tunnels which constitute the only means of livelihood and survival for the one and a half million Palestinians in Gaza.
We appeal to you to convey our demand to the Egyptian authorities that the convoy be allowed to travel immediately through Egypt and to the Rafah crossing to Gaza to show the Palestinian people there that they are not forgotten by people of conscience across the world.”