Viva Palestina convoy to arrive in Rafah NPR fails to name it, or mention the Gaza Freedom March

viva palestina route el arishAfter endless impediment, not the least of which was a sudden Israeli naval exercise to block its path, the Viva Palestina aid convoy appears finally about to reach Gaza. Permission to enter has been granted, although last week Egypt reneged on the okay it had given to the 1,400 strong Gaza Freedom March. NPR had a reporter at the Rafah border crossing, but didn’t mention the aid convoy until 1/3 into the report, and then not by name, and never mentioned the New Year’s Eve march at all. As well, NPR referred to the besieged prison state as an “enclave” whose borders were forcibly closed, “understandably,” when Hamas “took over.”

Here’s the opening of this morning’s report. My favorite part? Two. First the interminable sportscast-lke intro, a beautiful day in Fenway Park, etc. Then, hesitation as the reporter explains that the border is opened to let Palestinians out, and um, sometimes back in.

Steve Inskeep: “This is a rare day in a Palestinian enclave known as the Gaza Strip. A border crossing opened today, which is rare because Gaza is surrounded by Israel and Egypt and both have kept the crossings closed for weeks at a time over the last couple years. Today people and supplies have been allowed to move and NPR’s Peter Kenyon is at the border crossing of Rafah on the Egyptian side, Hi Peter.”

Peter Kenyon: “Hi Steve, how are you?”

SI: “Okay thanks. What have you seen?”

PK: “Well it’s a beautiful sunny day here, a little bit windy but a bright blue sky, and I’m at the actual crossing point. The black iron gates are slowly swinging open and closed from time to time, letting Palestinians out into Egypt or uh, sometimes back in, people who need to get home. Now this is a very limited opening, not any kind of a max exodus.”

SI: “Is this an opportunity to move supplies in addition to people?”

PK: “It is. In fact there is an aid convoy that has endured quite a few setbacks that has now finally arrived in the port of El-Arish. That’s about twenty-five miles away and that is expected to come as early as today, possibly tonight, there’s some last minute logistical difficulties. It’s a British convoy led by the outspoken member of parliament George Galloway. And they have finally arrived and they do hope to get in.”

And that’s the extent of the coverage of the aid convoy that has been winding its way toward Gaza for the last month. No mention of “Viva Palestina” or organizations behind the effort, or even what their difficulties have been. The final “logistical difficulties” to which the reporter alludes concern Egypt’s sudden stipulation that aid consist only of medical supplies. Check with York to Gaza, the Reading Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, the Sitch, among others, for the final updates.

Meanwhile the BBC has pictures of conditions in Gaza.

While the Gaza Freedom March was kept contained in Cairo, Egypt was simultaneously stopping the Viva Palestina aid convoy from entering through Aqaba. Ultimately the convoy was forced to circle Israel and return to Syria, where it had to ferry its vehicles on the Ulusoy-6 from Lattakia to the Egyptian Port of El-Arish to reach the Rafah border crossing into Gaza.

Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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