In solidarity for Palestine, Asian activists announce caravan to Gaza
If you are from India and want to join the Caravan email asiatogaza.india[#]gmail.com or call +91-9911599955In a press conference in New Delhi on 5 October 2010 Asian People’s Solidarity for Palestine (APSP) announced the launching of Asia to Gaza Solidarity Caravan.
Around 500 civilian activists from 17 Asian countries will launch a sea journey towards Gaza to break the Israeli blockade of the region. The month long ''caravan'' that will be flagged off from New Delhi on December 2.
The Asia to Gaza Caravan will go through cities in Pakistan, Iran, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey before taking the sea route to Gaza. The caravan will carry relief material for the besieged people of Gaza. It will spend 2 to 3 days in each of the 18 cities, meeting political activists, attending press conferences, doing road shows and other meetings. The Asian convoy will be joined by delegations and vehicles in each of the countries through which it passes.
The press statement read “APSP commits to build the solidarity of Asian people for the freedom of Palestine, provide materials, resources, and volunteers to support the struggle of the people of Palestine and oppose our own governments’ decisions and actions that give economic, financial, military and diplomatic support to Israel and allow it to behave with impunity.”
Further it said that the Gaza Caravan is endorsed by the 51 Organisations and 57 Individuals. Feroze Mithiborwala said: "Our short term objective is to break the siege of Gaza....Friends of the alliance are putting together money to buy a ship. We will set sail from a Mediterranean port but for security reasons I cannot reveal the port name, else Israel will fall on it like a load of bricks.”
“Palestine is emerging as a central geo-political issue and we resist the ethnic cleansing of Palestine...In view of Israel's ongoing collective punishment of Palestinians through illegal occupation and siege of Gaza, we started this movement,” secretary of New Trade Union Initiative Gautam Mody told reporters.
The alliance told the reporters that money was not a problem as he per head cost will be about Rs 40,000 per head and the organisations associated with the caravan will bear the costs.
TENTATIVE CARAVAN SCHEDULE01 Dec Participants from East and South East Asia reach New Delhi, India 2-3 Dec Flag off from New Delhi & travel to Wagah border, Indo-Pak Border 04 Dec Reach Lahore, Pakistan 5-7 Dec Lahore to Karachi/Quetta, Pakistan 08 Dec Karachi/Quetta, Pakistan to Zahedan, Iran 9-14 Dec Zahedan, Iran to Tabriz, Iran 15-17 Dec Tabriz, Iran to Eskandarun, Turkey 18-19 Dec Eskandarun, Turkey to Damascus, Syria 20-21 Dec Damascus, Syria to Amman Jordan 22-23 Dec Amman, Jordan to Beirut Lebanon 24-26 Dec Beirut back to Turkey 26 Dec Sail for Gaza (Palestine)
Maulana Abdul Wahab Khilji, member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board said, "People of India stand for the liberation of Palestine, though India's policy towards Palestine has change." The caravan will leave its last port on December 26 for Gaza. Feroze Mithiborwala said that specially around the new year Israel usually doesn't hesitate to bomb. He said a few Japanese on the Caravan might save the ship being bombed, but the activists are ready to spend their new year in Israeli jails.
Shahnawaz Ali Raihan of (Students Islamic Organisation of India) and Sandeep Pandey expressed their solidarity with the cause of behalf of the student community.
A week-long film festival screening Palestinian films and documentaries is being planned across several cities of India in the last week of October (tentatively 23-30 October).
The alliance said it was disappointed that the last decade has marked a shift in India’s approach to the Palestinian issue as it moves closer to Israel. Though India's official position still supports the Palestinians' cause, the alliance claimed the India's policies were favouring the Israelis with their “strategic partnership” specially in defence and security deals. After the Mumbai 26/11 Terror attack, The Taj Hotel sent their security personnel for training to Israel.
“We, the general public need to stand together and extend our support to Palestine," Muslim Political Council leader Dr Tasleem A Rehmani said.
According to the press statement simultaneous press conferences had been held in 5 countries – India, Turkey, Iran, Indonesia and Lebanon – to announce the launch of the Asia to Gaza Caravan. And that similar press conferences will be held next week in Syria, Palestine, Malaysia, Nepal and Bangladesh.
Further the press statement said that APSP extends solidarity to the courageous people of Palestine in their struggle, resistance, and intifada against the Zionist Israeli occupation and affirms its commitment to Palestinian Self-Determination; Ending the Occupation; Equal Rights for All within historic Palestine; the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees; and the Establishment of a Sovereign, Independent and Democratic state of Palestine with Jerusalem as the capital.
The civil resisters have resolved to resist the Israeli sea siege in a peaceful manner and following the example of civil resisters such as Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela as well as the long tradition of peaceful resistance from all ethical and religious traditions.
APSP is an alliance of peoples’ organisations, social movements, trade unions, and civil society institutions of Asia. They have come together to struggle for peace, freedom and human dignity against occupation, imperialism, apartheid, Zionism and all forms of discrimination including religious discrimination.