Asia 1 convoy arrives in Gaza | Exclusive Pictures

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Asia 1 convoy arrives in GazaEXCLUSIVE PICTURES

The Asia 1 convoy finally set foot in the Gaza Strip after an epic journey starting in New Delhi, India in early December 2010. They had hoped to reach the besieged Strip on the anniversary of Operation Cast Lead (27 December 2010). However, due to political sensitivities the convoy was delayed in Syria for up to a week before being granted visas into Egypt. The convoy passed through Iran, Turkey, Lebanon and Syria, before being allowed into Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

108 humanitarians out of the original 170 walked into Gaza City earlier today to the applause and warm welcome of the local Gazans. Iranian members of the convoy as well as Jordanian and a few other nationals were prevented by the Egyptian authorities to enter. The convoy consisted of humanitarian aid worth around $1m and included four ambulances, eight trucks carrying 1,000 tons of medical aid, clothing, infant milk, and specialist equipment for those with special needs.

The delegation visited the areas left devastated after Operation Cast Lead, which claimed over 1,400 Palestinian lives, many of whom were women and children, and met with families of current prisoners of the Israeli occupation. They also visited a number of people who still carry visible scars and injuries from the onslaught on Gaza in 2008-09.

The Indonesian contingency of the Asia 1 convoy have promised to set up a hospital in the northern region of the Gaza Strip, an area left almost totally destroyed after the Israeli aggression. The delegation later met members of the Council of Ministers including Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.

MEMO Photographer: Mohammed Asad







Asia 1 convoy arrives in Gaza.


Five Israeli naval ships tracking Asian aid ship

Five Israeli naval vessels are tailing the ship carrying humanitarian supplies from Asia to the besieged residents of Gaza.

Speaking via satellite phone, Shaheen Moidunny, who is on board the ship Salam, told The Hindu that Israeli ships had been tracking the movements of their vessel for the last six hours. Radio contact had been established with the Israeli navy. “We are only one hour away from the Egyptian port of Al-Arish, where the ship would be docked,” Mr. Moidunny said. He clarified that there were no plans to take the ship to Gaza. “All the humanitarian supplies would be taken overland from Al-Arish to the Rafa crossing on the Egyptian Gaza border,” he said.

Mr. Moidunny said only eight persons were on board the aid ship, while the rest of the activists, from several Asian countries had been flown into Egypt from Syria.

According to the Egyptian website Ahram Online, the “Asia to Gaza Solidarity Caravan” had remained stuck for nearly a week at the Syrian port of Latakia, before Egyptian authorities granted it permission to enter Al-Arish port. Activists from more than 15 countries, the majority of whom are Indians ,but also include nationals from Iran, Japan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Malaysia, New Zealand and Kuwait are participating in this initiative

The convoy, which set off from New Delhi on December 2, was scheduled to reach Gaza by December 27, a day ahead of the second anniversary of Israel’s 22-day war on Gaza.

Earlier, Egypt’s Al-Ahram newspaper quoted Palestinian sources as saying that the Egyptian embassy in Damascus had issued visas to 120 activists, but had denied entry to another 46 hailing from Jordan and Iran. Some of the aid material, including 10 generators donated by Iran, were not allowed on the ship, and the size of the cargo was kept below 300 tonnes.

The Hindu : News / International : Five Israeli naval ships tracking Asian aid ship.

tehran times : ‘Israel Navy chasing Gaza-bound Asia 1’

January 3, 2011

Two warships with Israel’s Navy are reportedly chasing a vessel from Asia 1, an Asia-sourced Gaza-bound aid ship in international waters.

The ship, named Salam, is allegedly carrying tons of medical and food supplies for the Tel Aviv-blockaded Gaza Strip as well as eight human rights activists as part of the sizeable relief mission, which is also known as Asia to Gaza Solidarity Caravan.

The Israeli forces have contacted the ship’s captain, demanding the names of the activists, who are reportedly from Azerbaijan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Japan.

The activists say they want to display solidarity with the Palestinian people in their resistance against Israel.

Tel Aviv has been enforcing an all-out land, aerial and naval blockade on the 1.5 million Palestinians in the enclave since mid-June 2007.

Salam left the port of Latakia in the northwest of Syria for the northeastern Egyptian port of el-Arish on Saturday, defying the prospects of an Israeli assault.

Israel’s military, killed nine Turkish activists aboard Freedom Flotilla, an Ankara-backed humanitarian convoy, on May 31.

The Asian convoy, which is joined by activists of 18 different nationalities, has traveled through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and Lebanon. It was forced to remain in Syria for a week, awaiting Cairo’s authorization to dock at its port.

A seven-member delegation of Iranian lawmakers joined the mission while it was in the Syrian capital, Damascus.

In this regard, an Indian activist on the mission told Press TV last month, “We are completely non-violent. We do not have weapons.”

In case of an attack, “We will face it with non-violence. We’ll face it with a prayer in our hearts,” he added.

tehran times : ‘Israel Navy chasing Gaza-bound Asia 1’.