Gaza charity convoy changes its route upon Egypt's demand
Activists in charge of a 210-truck convoy carrying humanitarian aid to the beleaguered Gaza Strip said Tuesday that they had decided to change their route after Egyptian authorities blocked their entry to the Red Sea port of Nuweibeh, DPA reported.
The convoy, known as Viva Palestina, will instead travel from the Jordanian port of Aqaba, where it has been stuck for four days, to Amman, before heading to Syria, said Ali Abul Sukkar, a spokesman for the Jordanian Professional Associations Council, which is involved in the campaign.
The cargo will later be loaded onto a ship at the Mediterranean port of Latakia, bound for the port of El Arish, the conduit through which Egypt insists all aid to the Palestinian enclave should pass.
The decision to change the convoy's route came after Turkish mediation failed to muster Egyptian approval for transit to the Gaza Strip's Rafah crossing via Nuweibeh. The Rafah Crossing is the only access point into the Palestinian territory that bypasses Israel, Abul Sukkar said.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit has characterized its insistence on the use of the El Arish port as a "sovereign decision."
"The convoy has no other choice except returning to Syria and sailing from there to El Arish," he said.
The convoy is led by British lawmaker George Galloway and manned by 450 activists from 17 countries, including the United States, European countries and Turkey.