GAZA CITY (AFP) – A boat carrying humanitarian aid docked in the Gaza Strip on Saturday after being allowed through an Israeli naval blockade of the poverty-stricken territory, an AFP correspondent reported.
The 20-metre (66 foot) Dignity left the Cypriot port of Larnaca on Friday evening and was allowed in after having been stopped at sea and searched.
"Israeli security intercepted our boat at sea. It carried out an identity check, searched the boat and allowed us to continue our voyage towards Gaza," said Aed Qahtany, from a Qatari group.
Among the 17 people on board were three Lebanese and four Qataris, as well as two Israelis, one of them a journalist, the correspondent reported. The cargo consisted of baby milk and a tonne of medicines, according to Amjad al-Shawa, coordinator of the campaign.
"The whole Qatari population and its government stand alongside the Palestinian people and particularly alongside Palestinians who are subject to the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip," Qahtany told AFP. Neta Golan, an Israeli woman who lives in the West Bank city of Ramallah called on other activists to mobilise.
"We still need more help from people who support the Palestinians to help the Palestinian resistance liberate Gaza," Golan, the founder of the International Solidarity Movement, told AFP....--MORE--"
"Lebanon Raises The Voice: Freedom for Gaza!
19/12/2008 Action to end the inhumane Gaza siege has started from Lebanon…
Lebanon, the country of Resistance and patriotism, raised on Friday the voice in response to Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah’s call, expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people amid a "suspicious" Arab and international calm.
On Monday, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah called upon all Arabs and Muslims to start actions against the siege. His eminence has called on all Lebanese, regardless of the political affiliations, to take part in the action given the importance of the central cause of Palestine. "I call on all the Lebanese, regardless of whether they are loyal to March 8 or 14, to participate in the demonstration that Hezbollah will organize on Friday at 2 PM," Sayyed Nasrallah said.
The response was quick. Lebanese, from all regions, answered on Friday the call… Tens of thousands of Lebanese and Palestinians took part in the first announced step in the massive movement to protest the inhumane siege, call for freedom of Gaza and reject the Arab official calm.
The central protest took place at the southern suburb of Beirut. Even before 2 PM, protesters flocked to the Sayyed al-Shouhadaa' complex from where they marched throughout the streets of Dahiye.
Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Kassem delivered Hezbollah’s speech and criticized Arab silence saying Gaza should not be treated like this. "The child of Gaza is more honourable than you and your positions and he will triumph, God willing…The people of Gaza will never be defeated because they’ve chosen the path of resistance." His eminence stressed that "we are not with the humiliating settlement…We are with the resistance."
"Freedom for Gaza" was the main slogan. "Death for America, Death for Israel," they shouted in one high voice. "Palestinians will stay in Palestine, Zionists are the ones who will go out," the protestors also shouted.
The splendid scene witnessed in the southern suburb of Beirut was also reflected in other regions from the North to the South, where the Lebanese and the Palestinians answered the call and raised their voice.
In this context, Saida, the capital of the South, witnessed one of the major movements. MP Oussama Saad addressed the crowds and saying that officials in all Arab states should possess the will of confrontation and resistance, the will of safeguarding Arab dignity as well as the blood of the martyrs. He called on all free and noble people in Lebanon and the Arab world to stay united against the Gaza siege.
The Bekaa region also witnessed massive rallies in solidarity with besieged Gaza. Under the slogan "silence was siege in itself," the Lebanese and the Palestinians took part in the demonstration and called on their fellow Arabs and Muslims to join them. Hezbollah Shoura Council member Sheikh Mohamad Yazbek stressed Allah will undoubtedly render Gaza victorious as its people has shown a high level steadfastness and patience. His eminence also underlined the fact that Israel will cease to exist. “Gaza is decrying the weakness that has plagued the Arab and Islamic nations and regimes. Arab silence is encouraging the others to do what they are doing now.” Sheikh Yazbek expressed regret that the government of Egypt continues to close the Rafah crossing.
In Tripoli, north of Lebanon, the head of the Islamic Work Front Sheikh Fatho Yakan urged all Palestinians to unite and stop internal blood shedding. He called on the Palestinians to engage in a united resistance project “to gain back honor,” by following the example of the resistance in Lebanon. The Front’s branch in Beirut observed a sit-in in solidarity with Gaza. Sheikh Dr. Abdul Nasser Jabri stressed the necessity to support the Palestinian people with every possible means. “We should press all Arab and Islamic regimes as well as the free international community to end the siege of Gaza,” he said.
Several villages in the Iqlim Kharroub region in south of Beirut observed a sit-in following Friday prayers with the participation of opposition party officials.