just got a text message that an interview was just done in Al Arish with the Sinn Fein Representative and Deputy Convoy leader Gerry MacLochlainn by Aljazeera. Possibly some others were interviewed as well, so watch for that. I am trying to find out if it was for television with cameras, or just an interview that will appear in print on their website. Also, there are reports that a big media presence has assembled at the border for tomorrows hopeful crossing by the convoy, so more interviews to be done then at the border.
(updated x1 @ 19:09 Dublin time: It was a television interview and it was done as the convoy members were arriving at Al Arish and getting out of their vehicles, this leads me to believe they interviewed several people, although the text message does not say how many others.)
Only a little bit of news to tell on this latest update. I received another phone call 15 minutes ago; and the convoy is just entering the Sinai desert. I am told that the mobile phone signals are not that great until they get closer to Rafah. The plan, so far, remains the same. They are still planning to travel directly to the border, no stopping overnight. But, that could change depending on how late it gets. Oh, I just got a text message as I was typing this post, it says "200km to Rafah" so that’s the latest.
Good morning everyone:
It’s moving quickly now. Was just on the phone with one of my friends when the buses arrived to pick up the members and take them to the convoy vehicles at the port. So they will arrive at the port very soon and then the members will drive the vehicles loaded with the medical aid to the Rafah border.
The convoy will be accompanied by Egyptian security who will see them to the border. Once at the border they will have to clear inspection and passport control, then enter Gaza. This could take a bit of time as there are many others waiting for entry ahead of the convoy, or, the convoy could be put right through quickly. We will see what happens later today.
I expect many updates today as we monitor the progress to the border and crossing into Gaza. Additionally when my friends are able to get online I will have photos as well. The updates will be numbered from #1 (this one now) up to how ever many I get until the day ends and the convoy retires for the night.
just want to add this small update to what was said above. My friend just rang me again and said that the buses just took the drivers and will be right back for the rest of the members. So whilst they were waiting my friend went to go online to send me some information, and surprise, the Internet was not available. Which, I find "odd" as this Internet location has been being used by both of my friends for several days now. What this means is that I will have to rely on phonecalls only form this point on until they are able to get online inside Gaza. I expect several phonecalls throughout the day and Will post them when I get them.
Convoy of Hope for Gaza
European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza
Friday 22nd May 2009
On Friday morning the 22nd May, the members of the Hope for Gaza Convoy organised by the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG) are making final preparations in Port Said for the departure of the convoy for Al Areesh and Al Rafah.
The organisers gathered the delegation into groups in order to consult on urgent procedural matters and to review current progress.
There have been numerous delays since the cargo arrived in Alexandria on Saturday last. Since then the organisers have been awaiting the arrival of a ship in Alexandria to take the medicines and medical equipment to Port Said where it will leave by road for the border crossing at Al Rafah.
Parliamentarians and other elected officials from Europe contacted the Foreign Ministry to clarify outstanding matters and to seek assurances of co-operation from the Egyptian authorities.
“They have assured us that they will facilitate our travel to Al Areesh and Al Rafah and permit the convoy to cross the border into Gaza once the ship arrives in Port Said. The ship has now picked up its cargo and is en route to Port Said”
“The news that the ship in on its way to Port Said and that we will soon be on the final leg of our journey to Gaza has been an enormous relief to many people.”
“This medicine and the medical equipment is needed urgently in Gaza and there are people who will die if this material is not delivered. We cannot allow this to happen when these medicines and the medical equipment is so close.
“We are confident that that this will happen with the full co-operation of the authorities here.”