Published on The People’s Voice, by Stuart Littlewood, Jan. 2, 2010.
It is desperately sad to see the noble efforts of the Viva Palestina expedition turning sour in front of our eyes as the forces of darkness plot once again to derail humanitarian aid for Gaza.
Admittedly the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (joint organizers) are avoiding questions about whether or not they obtained clearance from Egypt for the route. This encourages speculation that convoy members were led up the garden path when they headed for Aqaba. The cost in time and expense (and lost pay, as many took time off work to make the trip) of having to re-trace their steps to Syrian, and divert to the port of Latakia, is an added burden they could have done without …
… Forcing the convoy to take ship and re-route down the East Mediterranean coast through the playground of Israel’s marauding gunboats is the sort of lunacy that could have dangerous consequences. Many here are predicting a Dignity-type attack on the ferries that Viva Palestina has been obliged to hire.
I suppose it is a fitting end to a rotten year … a year that began with promise and high hopes but turned out to be one of double-cross and despair. Freedom activist are complaining that all this bickering with Egypt has diverted attention from the main culprits, Israel and America. But other culprits lurk in the evil swamp and Egypt is one of them. It is no bad thing that the spotlight falls on their treacherous behaviour.
Egypt has responsibilities for keeping the Gaza border open under the AMA (Agreement on Movement and Access) treaty but hides behind a wobbly get-out clause, namely that Gaza is “Palestinian territory that is still under Israeli occupation… Under international law and the 4th Geneva Convention in particular, as the occupying power, Israel must ensure the basic needs of the inhabitants of the territory it occupies are met, such as electricity, water, fuel, food and medicine.”
So Egypt seeks to legitimise Israel’s illegal occupation by colluding with it, and recently has gone further. It is building an Iron Wall to create a hermetically sealed border against the besieged and starving Palestinians, a despicable act that reveals, apart from a cruel streak, an apparent lack of any sense of brotherhood or compassion.
No-one can accuse President Mubarak of being like Macbeth – “too full of the milk of human kindness”. (full text).