Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Press Release

3 Jan 2010
Update from Derry to Gaza Team


JJ Crockett January 3 at 12:05pm

Things have been changing rapidly in the last 12 hours, and now I will update you fully on developments, with the endpoint being a very good one, as it stands at the moment anyway.

Yesterday at 4pm we loaded the vehicles onto the cargo ferry from the Syrian port of Latakia. This was the Turkish ferry with a Turkish crew that was the outcome of the Egyptian-Turkish agreement to allow a ferry to sail from Syria and not the previous port we were at, Aqaba. So we loaded our vehicles onto the expected 18 hour crossing into Al-Arish. In the meantime we had not yet received 'security clearance' for our flights into Al-Airsh for Sunday (today). We were anxious that we were putting the cart before the horse but it seemed our only option.

At 8pm, further bad news came. 'Security clearance' had not yet been received and even worse, the ferry had not gone out to sail yet. The Israelis had announced that they were expanding their 'international waters' from 12km to 20kms, meaning that the ferry would have to re-co-ordinate its route. We were gutted to hear this, and thought that there would be an endless barrage of obstacles put in our path; with the end result being that we didn’t get into Egypt, never mind Gaza.

Things have improved dramatically since then. At 12pm today, Kevin Ovenden announced that the ship had set sail last night at 10pm on a new route that would extend its period of travel by 8 hours. Happy days we thought, now the confirmation of the flights would have to follow. Kevin said that they had received 'verbal assurances' from the Egyptians about our safe arrival by plane. Whilst on stage, however, he received confirmation that the airline would fly, regardless of clearance or not. So the first of four flights are due to fly out tomorrow at 4am and ideally arrive before the ferry to ensure safe and secure unloading.

So as it stands, and I emphasize that the goalposts are being moved all the time, the ferry has set sail, hopefully it will arrive sometime later this evening or tomorrow morning. Coincidentally, the flights are due to fly out at 4am Monday morning. Inshallah both the vehicles will arrive in Al_arish by Monday evening, and be able to be on the road for Gaza for Tuesday 5th January, one day before the gates are due to close.

This is all I know for now and if there are any developments, I will update u immediately. But all is planned for our entrance of aid and people.

The 5 boys


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