Gaza-bound Asia 1 convoy arrives in Lebanon


The first Asian humanitarian convoy to break Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip by taking relief supplies to the coastal sliver has reached Lebanon.

Currently joined by activists of 15 different nationalities, the Asian People’s Solidarity with Palestine convoy, also known as Asia 1, began its journey from India and traveled through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and Syria before arriving in Lebanon.

The activists say they want to display solidarity with the Palestinian people in their resistance against Israel.

Tel Aviv has been enforcing an all-out land, aerial and naval blockade on the 1.5 million Palestinians in the enclave since mid-June 2007.

The mission has been welcomed by Khaled Mashaal, the political leader of the Palestinian resistance movement of Hamas, as well as Ramadan Abdullah, the leader of the Palestinian group of Islamic Jihad.

“We really appreciate your effort to keep this momentum and to follow up your work,” Abdullah said.

A seven-member delegation of Iranian lawmakers joined the mission while it was in the Syrian capital, Damascus.

The convoy plans to enter Gaza later in the month on the anniversary of the launch of the 22-day-long Israeli war on the enclave, which killed more than 1,400 Palestinians.

There are fears that the mission might be fiercely confronted by Israel’s military, which killed nine Turkish activists aboard Freedom Flotilla, an Ankara-backed humanitarian convoy, on May 31.

However, an Indian activist with the mission told Press TV, “We are completely non-violent. We do not have weapons.”

In case of an attack, “We will face it with non-violence. We’ll face it with a prayer in our hearts,” he added. Press TV

Photo: A group from the “Asia 1” convoy gesture as they arrive in Damascus December 20, 2010.