Sunday, September 19, 2010

Newest "flotilla" a non-story (update)

A new flotilla is attempting to make headlines by pretending that it will be "breaking the siege on Gaza." As the Viva Palestina website says,

Viva Palestina is launching "Viva Palestina 5 - a global lifeline to Gaza", a gigantic land convoy leaving London on Saturday, 18th September in conjunction with convoys leaving from Casablanca and Doha and timed to coordinate with a larger and even more international flotilla aiming to reach Gaza by sea at the same time as the land convoys reach by land.

Is there really another flotilla aiming at Gaza? Not really. As CNN mentions, they are headed to Egypt's El Arish:

Unlike the flotilla in May, the convoy aims to enter Gaza by land, through the Rafa border crossing with Egypt. When the three convoys meet in Syria, they plan to be shipped past the point at which the Mavi Marmara was attacked and down to the Egyptian port of Al Arish before going to Rafah.

Egypt generally has been forcing large quantities of goods to go through Kerem Shalom because Rafah cannot handle large shipments. So the major party that will be pressured throughout this upcoming incident will be Egypt, not Israel. Egypt does not care nearly as much about PR as Israel does.

The Viva Palestina land convoy may have some problems as well. As we mentioned, Egypt had banned such convoys last January, and today Algeria refused permission for the Moroccan land contingent to go through its territory.

UPDATE: More proof that the new "flotillas" aren't going to Gaza: The Free Gaza movement, which is against sending any aid through Egypt or Israel, is ignoring them.