Dead Prez Member M-1 Granted Access to Gaza with Viva Palestina U.S. Convoy
Efforts to provide aid to needy residents in Gaza were finally granted as a Viva Palestina U.S.-led humanitarian convoy entered the country on Wednesday (July 15).
Among those traveling with the more than 200-member group were Dead Prez rapper M-1, New York City Councilman Charles Barron and former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney as well as representatives from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Middle East Children’s Alliance, Cuba Coalition, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de AztlÃ¡n (MEChA), International Action Center, the Answer Coalition, International Socialist Organization and Workers World Party.
The convoy’s 10-hour trip to the Rafah border came after leaving Cairo early Wednesday morning.
The entry into Gaza came after the activists remained at the border for about six hours processing paperwork.
The experience proved to be frustrating for McKinney, who took issue with Israeli attempts to thwart Viva Palestina’s mission as well as a requirement by the U.S. Embassy to have American citizens sign papers waiving their right to be protected by their government if they enter Gaza.
“This was not required in the first Gaza convoy nor was such an item required in the Free Gaza Movement,” said McKinney told the Black Agenda Report.
According to reports, Egyptians have aided Israelis in blocking entry in to Gaza since 2007.
Because of Israel’s siege, the 1.5 million residents of the Gaza Strip are in need of humanitarian assistance.
The situation took a turn for the worse in December and January as Israel launched a three-week assault as military bombed homes, schools, mosques, hospitals and universities.
More than 1,400 Palestinians were killed in the attacks, which wounded more than 5,300 and left more than 50,000 people homeless.
The access to Gaza resulted after two previous attempts by McKinney to enter the country.
In December, a relief vessel the politician was riding in was rammed by the Israeli navy in international waters.
McKinney continued to encounter setbacks in late June as she spent seven days in an Israeli prison.
The time behind bars came after the Israel Navy arrested the McKinney and 20 other human rights activists after boarding their boat Spirit of Humanity.
McKinney was later released to join M-1 and the Viva Palestina U.S caravan, which was organized by British Member of Parliament George Galloway.
Among the items brought into Gaza were two ambulances, and 11 truckloads of medical supplies as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in medicine, food, toys and building cement for hospitals.