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U.S.-Gaza Convoy Stopped at Checkpoint

[Editor's Note:  Four buses carrying medical aid, US and international volunteers were stopped at the Suez Canal and prevented from crossing into the Sinai on their way to Gaza, evidently on Saturday. They were given conflicting reasons why they could not proceed to the Egypt-Gaza border checkpoint at Al Arish.  Dorchester People for Peace, Vets for Peace, and ISO, whose Boston members are part of the convoy, will hold a press conference Tuesday, 7/14, 4:30 p.m. at Park Street Station to demand the convoy be allowed to enter Gaza.]

Update No.2 - US-GAZA Convoy

Dear Friends,

There have been many developments in the last 24 hours, which some of you may have already followed.
THANKS FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT AND ACTIVISM ON BEHALF OF THE CONVOY EFFORT -- AND KEEP THE PRESSURE ON!

You can find the latest news about the Convoy (or make a contribution!) at http://www.vivapalestina-us.org/topics/updates-of-convoy/ so I won't repeat the details here, except to summarize:

Some of us (including me) are still in Alexandria, hoping to obtain the Convoy vehicles today (Monday, local time).  The rest have reunited in CAIRO, where the medical supplies have been staged. If all goes well we will join up today or tomorrow and proceed directly to GAZA.  The CAIRO group has been joined by NY City Councilor Charles Barron, MP George Galloway, former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (and Green Party presidential candidate), who was just released from a week in Israeli jail after the Freegaza boat she was on from Cyprus to Gaza was intercepted and seized by the Israeli navy in an act of piracy-- and now the Hip-hop Dead Prez.  They are all busy giving interviews and putting pressure on the Egyptian government to let the Convoy through. 

The truth is that the 1.5 million people of GAZA are facing not only an Israeli siege, but also an Egyptian bureaucratic blockade.  Our group is "protected" everywhere we go by armed Egyptian security men, whose job it is actually to follow and report on our activities.  And Egypt is technically bound by treaty obligations with Israel to restrict the passage of people and supplies to and from GAZA.  Ironically, the Convoy organizers report relative cooperation from the US Embassy.  Please do what you can to contact and pressure the Egyptian government and the media!

THE CONVOY MEMBERS

In the last Update I reported some general information about the people who make up the 200-odd Convoy members.  I hope you won't mind reading some further details about the participants.

>From the Boston area, besides me there is HAAS, a Vets for Peace member from Salem, and two young activists, toM and KHOURY.

Among the young Palestinian-Americans I've met

NASSAR from Orange County, age 20, a student at Berkeley; his parents and grandparents moved to the US from BirZeit, just north of Ramallah in the West Bank;  he has relatives in Nazareth, inside 1948 Israel;

SARA, 19, now from Brooklyn, was born in a refugee camp n Jordan after her grandparents were expelled from their village near Hebron to the Daheisha refugee camp in Bethlehem in 1948 and then from there to Jordan in 1967;

TAHER, a young student from Milwaukee, who has never seen many of his relatives who live in Gaza after the family was expelled from what became southern Israel in 1948;

EHAB, 23, a TV reporter from Brooklyn, whose family is from Beit Hanina near Jerusalem;

Among the older Palestinan-Americans, there is ABUOBEIDA from Houston -- he wears a cowboy hat! -- originally from a village near Nablus in the West Bank; NADER, a human resources consultant from Cleveland, who's family is originally from the village of Falluja, near Gaza;  MARYAM, whose father was an Orthodox priest from Jaffa;  ANIS, 71, from Nazareth, who owns a car repair business in Covina, CA; KHALED, 37, an engineer from Chicago, whose family was expelled from Ramle in 1948 Israel to Ramallah and then to Gaza; I already mentioned preciously MAHER, an engineer from Kansas City with his wife and children trapped in Gaza; MOHAMMAD, an environmental consultant from Illinois who is hoping to see his 90-year-old mother; and ABDUL-RAUF from Tampa, who has many relatives in Gaza,including his mother and brother (MAHER and ABDUL-RAUF went to elementary school together and hadent seen eachother for 30 years until they met at the airport on the way to GAZA!)

Other US participants include, JOHN, a Teamster driver in Hollywood in his 50's (my room-mate); TRAVIS, 40, a filmaker and film teacher from Colorado; DAVID, a 19-year-old student at Georgetown; POWELL,a young organizer with UNITE-HERE in California and his father; ZUBAIR, a student from Orlando, whose Muslim parents moved to the US from Zimbabwe; BEA, 57, from Eureka Springs, Arkansas, a laid-off Walmart data analyst; EUNICE, 47, originally from Colombia, a senior analyst for the regional transport authority in Chicago (and activist) with her daughter GINA; ALISON WEIR, a journalist from Portland and executive director of the Palestine activism web site www.ifamericansknew.org; KAREN, 29, a Mexican-American from Austen who works for Apple.

There are also people from many other countries:  MUHAMMAD IBRAHIM, a 22-year-old medical student at Bristol University from Malaysia; CHRISTOFF and KARIM from Lyons, France; TARIQ originally from Syria; KEVIN from Iran; MAJID, 26, from Paris, of Algerian extraction; KEVIN from the UK, who is George Galloway's publicity director.; Mohammad from Libya.

The list goes on an on -- quite a diverse and inspiring group.  It is an honor to be among them.

Peace/Salaam,
Jeff/"Jaffr" Klein

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