Galloway in Egypt to join Gaza aid convoy

British MP George Galloway arrived in Cairo on Saturday to join a convoy that had set out from London last month carrying relief for war-torn Gaza, an airport official said.

Galloway was met by officials from Mubarak’s ruling National Democratic Party.

The Egyptian government had arrested dozens of opposition members who demonstrated against Israel’s December and January offensive on Gaza.

Egypt opened its Rafah border crossing with Gaza to aid and Palestinian wounded during part of the war, but has since closed it to aid.

The convoy includes 12 ambulances and a fire engine and carries more than one million pounds (1.4 million dollars, 1.1 million euros) worth of aid.

North Sinai Governor Mohammed Shosha, who was preparing a reception for the convoy in Sinai, said Egypt would allow Galloway and members of the convoy to enter Gaza through Rafah, but that entry of the convoy itself would have to be coordinated with Israel.

Israel’s war on Gaza killed 1,330 Palestinians, mainly civilians, and wounded 5,450 others.

Among the dead were 437 children, 110 women, 123 elderly men, 14 medics and four journalists.

The wounded include 1,890 children and 200 people in serious condition.

The war also left tens of thousands of houses destroyed, while their residents remained homeless in the winter cold.

Israel, which wants to crush any Palestinian liberation movement, responded to Hamas’s win in the elections with sanctions, and almost completely blockaded the impoverished coastal strip after Hamas seized power in 2007, although a ‘lighter’ siege had already existed before.

Human rights groups, both international and Israeli, slammed Israel’s siege of Gaza, branding it “collective punishment.”

A group of international lawyers and human rights activists had also accused Israel of committing “genocide” through its crippling blockade of the Strip.

Gaza is still considered under Israeli occupation as Israel controls air, sea and land access to the Strip.

The Rafah crossing with Egypt, Gaza’s sole border crossing that bypasses Israel, rarely opens as Egypt is under immense US and Israeli pressure to keep the crossing shut.

Fatah has little administrative say in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, and has no power in Arab east Jerusalem, both of which were illegally occupied by Israel in 1967.

Israel also currently occupies the Lebanese Shabaa Farms and the Syrian Golan Heights.

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