Asian ‘solidarity caravan’ heading for Gaza
By Yehonathan Tommer
NEW DELHI – A 17-nation Asia to Gaza Solidarity Caravan plans to set sail for El Arish from the Syrian port of Latakia on December 26, and cross into Gaza at the Rafah border checkpoint to coincide their arrival on the second anniversary of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead.
The convoy set out from New Delhi two weeks ago and will march through 18 cities on its way to Latakia from where its 500 participants from mainly India, but also including Pakistan, Indonesia as well as Iran, Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon will sail to El Arish and then overland to Gaza through the Rafah border crossing , provided Egyptian authorities approve its passage.
The convoy is organised by the Asian People’s Solidarity for Palestine (APSP), which the Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center says is a loose alliance of some 50 disparate leftist and Islamic organisations, as well as civil rights, womens’ and anti-globalist groups.
APSP is Iinked to the Free Gaza Movement and has an anti-Israel agenda with goals “to break the siege of Gaza” and “destroy the Israeli system of apartheid,” and “liberate Palestine.”
According to their website, the “civil resisters” aboard the Asian Flotilla are resolved “to resist the Israeli sea siege… peacefully and in the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela, and all ethical and religious traditions.”
They are also “willing to be convicted for their peaceful resistance.”
The convoy is led by Feroze Mithiborwala, an Indian Muslim radical human rights activist from Mumbai.
On the eve of the convoy’s departure Mithiborwala said at a press conference in Karachi that the Gaza Solidarity Caravan was “a step in creating a front against imperialism and World Zionism.”