The Bristol contingent of the Viva Palestina Convoy left Bristol on Friday 4th December. MPs, City Councillors, Trade Unions and supporters spoke at a rally in the town centre, followed by a parade across the city led by musicians & marchers with placards. The convoy finally left the City after prayers at one of the city Mosques.
Cllr Barbara Janke, Leader of Bristol City Council said: "I visited Gaza myself in 1987 and was appalled by the conditions people were living under, particularly children. From everything I have read since, I know things are even worse there today. I think it’s tremendous that people in Bristol have committed themselves to a humanitarian mission of this kind. I’m very impressed by the courage and commitment of those taking part and pray for their success and safety."
Dr. Chris Burns-Cox, Emeritus Consultant Physician at Frenchay Hospital, who has visited Gaza several times explained at the rally “Even before this year’s massacre and onslaught the people in dire need of the basics for life. I have seen children with amputations, mothers distraught at being unable to look after their children, young men paralysed from bullets through the neck and fathers distraught, unable to earn money to support their families. Even if our Government does nothing to help the people of Gaza the people of Bristol will help ease the suffering.”
They were joined by other City Councillors MPs and Trade Union speakers. Tony Benn and Ken Loach also sent messages of support
The Bristol contingent of the Viva Palestina Convoy has been assembled over just the last few weeks. It was led by a massive 44 ton truck packed with humanitarian aid, medical equipment and pharmaceuticals which have been donated from across Bristol and the South West. It was also followed by FIVE vans/minibuses. Travelling with the convoy was a team of TEN people with specialist skills. These including drivers, translators, an artist, a mental health nurse, an engineer, an IT specialist, and a documentary film-maker. They were joined by an ambulance from Country Cork in Ireland which is also on its way to the assembly point in London this weekend.
Over £20,000 has been collected for the convoy throughout Bristol. However money is still needed which will be used for fuel & transport costs on the journey plus final medical purchases before crossing into Gaza.
Sakir Yildirim, driver of the 44 ton truck says “The people of Bristol are magnificent, they have made this happen. But we’re still short of money to fill up the massive fuel tanks of our truck. Not only to get us across Europe but also we want them to be filled up again before we cross into Gaza where supplies are in desperately short supply due to the blockade.”
PRC launches Internet website regarding Goldstone Report
The Palestinian Return Center (PRC) in London as part of its Media activities has begun a project on the Goldstone Report. The center launched a new website to disseminate the major findings of the report and provide useful analysis. The website can be visited on www.goldstone-report.org, and includes valuable information not widely available or known elsewhere.
According to PRC media department, there has been a number of websites launched by pro Israeli lobbies and groups which adopt the official Israeli narration in respect of the Goldstone report. These websites include misleading and misguiding information about the siege and the War on the Gaza Strip.
PRC commented on the new website launched by the center as a new dimension in its strategy in bringing the realities on the ground to the eyes of the world. It tries to highlight the Palestinian victims especially the refugees who were the majority victims in the December war of 2008.
The Goldstone report tackles key points from the war such as the attack on the UNRWA school, destruction of UN food stockpiles, targeting of civilians, use of illegal weapons, excessive use of force and violence and the overall damage to infrastructure.
Developing on the facts mentioned on the report, PRC is holding a memorial week for Gaza victims between 13 and 19 of January 2010 where a number of workshops, galleries and speeches would be held in commemoration.
PRC strongly believes that the mainstream media has miserably failed to represent the truth of the conflict. Israelis misuse and manipulate the facts depicting victims as terrorists.
PRC, through its media department, will monitor and provide analysis of upcoming event on the Palestinian arena in an effort to provide an alternative perspective especially the continual plight of the refugees.
PRC media department added that the website focuses on three main stages, the Israeli withdrawal, the siege and the war. The actions of the Israelis in these areas are evidence that there is no advancement towards improving the living conditions of the Palestinians that are still under an illegal occupation.