The humanitarian “Road To Hope” convoy arrived in the Gaza Strip, on Thursday, carrying 30 vehicles filled with aid and 101 humanitarian aid workers, including eight who survived the Israeli attack on the Freedom Flotilla that killed nine activists in May this year. The Egyptian Authorities tried to obstruct the convoy but then allowed three members of the convoy to enter Gaza, before allowing the rest through.
The aid convoy crossed France, Spain, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya before heading to Egypt, the final destination before Gaza.
The convoy was stranded for nine days at the Libya-Egypt border as the Egyptian authorities failed to grant permission to allow it to cross into Egypt by land. The issue forced convoy organizers to hire a Greek ship to sail to Egypt.
The Press TV reported that Greek Commandos boarded the ship after the captain sailed to Piraeus Port against the will of Greece.
Aid workers who were onboard the ship stated that they were treated like “terror suspects”, Press TV added.
Only 37 members of the convoy were allowed to enter the Gaza Strip, convoy spokesperson, Leyla-Rubaina Hyda reported.
The aid convoy delivered some USD 1 Million worth of vehicles, medical aid, equipment for schools dealing with children with special needs, blankets, toys for children and educational materials.
Related Press TV Article
‘Gaza aid ship crew released in Greece’
Sun Nov 14, 2010 3:36AM
Several aid workers who were held captive by Greek commandos while on board a relief ship that was supposed to deliver supplies to Gaza have been released.
‘The convoy members, who were abducted then detained in Greece, have been released following examination of video footage. The captain has been arrested,’ Press TV broadcaster Lauren Booth said on Saturday after receiving contact from the Road to Hope convoy members.
In another interview with Press TV correspondent Hassan Ghani on Saturday, Ken O’Keefe of the Road to Hope convoy explained their circumstances.
Despite the fact that the convoy provided the captain of the ship with proof that the payment had been effected, he said he had to wait to verify that the money was in his account.
After a quarrel, the captain moved the ship into the sea and some of the group members, who managed to get into the ship to reclaim some of the convoy’s belongings and make sure that the captain would not leave, were taken.
“We were kidnapped,” O’Keefe said. The captain “has violated all sorts of laws. If he had gone back to Libya he would have gone to jail. He went to Greece because the owner of the ship was from Greece and he knew he would find more favor there.”
Ten aid workers — seven Britons, two Irish citizens, and an Algerian — were on board as well as several Libyan police officers and a senior port official.
When the ship entered Greek waters, Greek commandos boarded it.
“These commandos, in contrast to Israelis, were very professional. They dealt with us very correctly, very morally, and we were treated very well by them,” O’Keefe said.
“To this point, the Greek officials have realized that we should not be treated this way. We were kidnapped and we should be taken care of,” he added.
“We want to get back to Libya and continue our mission but since we do not have our passports we should wait to get our passports to fly to Libya,” O’Keefe added.
O’Keefe also noted that the convoy will press charges against the captain.
The Road to Hope said the vessel was originally scheduled to sail from Libya to El Raidin, Egypt, with the relief supplies then to be transported via the land route to Gaza.