Departed from London on 6 December to deliver aid to Gaza, the international aid convoy has been waiting in Aqaba for three days due to Egyptian hurdle. Egyptian officials denied permit to the ship that would carry the convoy to Egypt.
Along the 500-person convoy are 200 Turkish citizens and citizens of the United States, Britain and other European countries. The convoy participants are staying at a camp resembling a refugee camp.
Some of the activists are sleeping in single tents pitched outdoors, while the rest is sleeping in sleeping bags. Turkish citizens in the convoy recited marches, danced around fire with the attendance of British MP George Galloway and other activists.
Some Jordanian women offered the activists meals they cooked at home. Local nongovernmental organizations are providing the convoy with food, beverages and transportation.
All activists are waiting for Egypt to grant permit and head for Gaza as soon as possible. No one in the convoy is considering turning back to their countries. Citizens of Turkey, Britain and the US are urging their governments to pressure Egypt into granting entry.
Along the journey through Britain, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Syria and Jordan, the convoy received support and interest from local people. But the Egyptian decision not to allow the convoy enters the country through Red Sea drew reactions from the Islamic world.
IHH President Yıldırım slashed the Egyptian government saying “Egypt is acting as an accomplice by siding with Israel.”
“Aqaba means narrow gorge, but we will pass through this narrow gorge. The whole world is talking about this convoy. Allah willing this convoy will be a flag of freedom for Gaza,” he said.
Yıldırım criticized Egypt for siding with Israel and added “In a note sent to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Egypt says ‘This is a political convoy, its name includes the word freedom. We will not allow it to enter Egypt and Gaza.’ Up until now the world thought only Israel was a war criminal. But Egypt has proved it is also complicit in this crime. By preventing us Egypt has proved it is an Israeli-guided state. We will not remain silent against Egypt and besiege Egyptian embassies and consulates for days if needed.
Israel is encouraged by the Egyptian stance, Yıldırım noted, adding “They are proposing the aid convoy to enter Gaza through Israel. In other words, they have sold Gaza to Israel.”