Viva Palestina’s Sixth Journey to the Gaza Strip
by Steven Emerson
A British-based organization that has delivered millions of dollars to the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip embarked Sunday on its sixth convoy to Gaza from Bradford, UK.
Viva Palestina 6, dubbed “The Right of Return Convoy,” is organized by Viva Palestina Arabia (VPA), an affiliate group of Viva Palestina (VP). The convoy is “about the return to Palestine – the right of Palestinians to return and returning our attention to this central issue by contributing to the construction, the rebuilding, of a Palestine for all Palestinians, with Jerusalem recognized as its capital,” according to the organization’s website.
Newly elected British parliamentarian George Galloway founded VP, which has extensive ties to Hamas. He also has supported other terrorist organizations including Hizballah and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Some political pundits in the UK note that Galloway’s electoral victory in late March was due to his invocation of faith. At a campaign rally that month, he taunted his rival Imran Hussain, by claiming “I’m a better Pakistani than he will ever be. God knows who’s a Muslim and who is not…A Muslim is ready to go to the US Senate, as I did, and to their face call them murderers, liars, thieves and criminals.”
VPA and Galloway held a convoy fundraiser Friday in Bradford. Galloway did not accompany the convoy due to his “commitment to my constituents,” but he plans to join the group before it reaches. During Viva Palestina 5 in October 2010, Galloway was barred from entering the Gaza Strip due to a ban that Egyptian authorities placed on him.
Past VP convoys have enjoyed support from the Hamas leadership in the countries they visited as well as in Gaza. Past VP convoys also received support from the Syrian regime, including aid, vehicles, accommodations and a warm welcome. The Investigative Project on Terrorism revealed in February that Galloway sought help directly from Bashar al-Assad, to whom Galloway pledged his loyalty despite Assad’s brutal repression of anti-government protestors.
This convoy originally planned to bypass Syria by sailing from Turkey on a ferry. But that didn’t materialize, meaning the path still goes through Syria, prompting VP’s New Zealand and Malaysia branches to withdraw in protest.
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