Sixth Gaza land aid is planned

By Jessica Elgot, August 18, 2011
Last year’s Viva Palestina convoy

Last year’s Viva Palestina convoy

Pro-Palestinian activists Viva Palestina are to attempt to send a sixth land convoy to Gaza.

The UK-based group, whose founders include former Respect MP George Galloway, said it hoped to persuade the transitional authorities in Egypt to allow free movement of people and goods through the Rafah crossing.

In March, Viva Palestina announced it would no longer take part in flotillas to Gaza, because the risk involved conflicted with its charitable status.

This time the group aims to depart from London in November and arrive on December 27, on the anniversary of the Israeli offensive in Gaza in 2009.

A spokesman said: "At this time of year, the world's Christian communities and many others are particularly focused on Jerusalem and the crisis facing the inhabitants of that ancient city will also be part of our message."

Last year the Charity Commission criticised Viva Palestina for claiming to have raised more than £1million for Gaza through its convoy, when the true figure was just £180,000. But it cleared the charity after it was accused of donating £25,000 to Hamas. The Commission said that the donation had been a personal one from Mr Galloway.

Last updated: 12:50pm, August 18 2011