By Motasem Dalloul – Gaza City
British lawmaker George Galloway and hundreds of human and civil society activists braved all odds to come to the bombed-out Gaza Strip.
They travelled through two continents and crossed scores to countries to bring hope and much-needed help to the 1.6 million population of the coastal enclave, reeling under a long-running watertight Israeli siege.
Israel’s recent three-week war on Gaza killed more than 1,300 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and left its infrastructure in ruins.
The Viva Gaza aid convoy included 12 ambulances and a fire engine and carried aid worth more than 1.4 million dollars, which were all handed over to Hamas-run government.
IslamOnline.net interviewed Galloway, the main organizer who personally donated three cars and 35,000 dollars, a few hours before leaving the Palestinian territory.
Mr. George Galloway can you tell us what’s the real reason for your visit?
Thank you very much. My visit has more than one reason. The first one is to walk a step toward lifting the siege on the Gaza Strip.
The second is to tell the whole free world that they can do anything real to you.
The third and the main one is to stand beside the legal Palestinian prime minister, Ismail Haniya. The entire world knows that he was elected, apparently, democratically. I have offered him corporeal and financial support.
I know that what we have offered is not enough, but it is highly symbolic.
What kind of difficulties have you faced since you started to prepare for this trip until now?
A lot of difficulties have encountered us from the beginning of our journey until now.
But the most difficult stage was our entrance and exit from and to Egypt. There were a lot of restrictions on the members of the journey as well as on the people sympathizers with Gaza (who) burst to greet us in the streets. Our cars were vandalized in Al-Arish city with insults, but we removed them before entering the Strip.
Then, there were difficult procedure at the Rafah crossing regarding the journey members and the equipment we had.
Some donors decided to take their donations back when the Egyptians refused to let them in through the Rafah crossing.
Why did they refuse to allow their donations through the Egyptian Israeli crossing?
Donors don’t trust them. If they stole the whole country, what do you think about some equipment?
Where did you get the money and other donations?
We got them from the free people, collected them from mosques and churches and from our own properties.
How do you evaluate the size of Arab sympathy through your way to Gaza?
It was very good. The Arabs sympathize very much with the Palestinians and their cause, but there is a problem with the official regimes.
Mr. Galloway most of the pro-Gaza activists are British, what is the reason for this?
Each one in the world has a duty towards Palestine. British have the biggest. (British Foreign Secretary Arthur James) Belfour has given the Palestinian land which he didn’t own to the people who doesn’t deserve. Not all the British are Belfour.
We don’t see much coverage of your journey on the BBC and many other British media. Why do you think this is?
In a meeting with the BBC before leaving the UK, they were astonished that a British parliamentarian gives money to Ismail Haniya despite that the British government considers him illegal.
I say that this siege is imposed against democracy and nothing illegal here in Gaza. The criminals are those who impose the siege on the Strip. Haniya is the PM of all the free people, not only in Gaza, but also all over the world. We accept him as a PM for the free people.
– Motasem Dalloul is a correspondent for IslamOnline.net in Gaza. (Published in IslamOnline.net)