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Nov-03-2010 10:12printcomments

In Limbo in Libya: Gaza Road to Hope Convoy Urges Contact with Egyptian Embassies

"The Road to Hope convoy has been sitting on the Libyan/ Egyptian border for over 1 week now. We demand the immediate and safe passage so the Road to Hope convoy can deliver humanitarian cargo to the people of Gaza." - Ken O'Keefe

Egypt border
Photo from Ken O'Keefe's Facebook page

(TOBRUK / SALEM) - As I consider the plight of our writer and friend Ken O'Keefe and many other humanitarian activists stranded on the Libya/Egypt border, I try to imagine how and why Egypt would become a roadblock in this group's simple quest to deliver humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.

There are a number of historical reasons that Egypt might seek to help Gaza; and only one reason Egypt would not, and that is Israel.

I've heard the Six Day War referred to as "a splendid conflict" and generally regarded as highly efficient military action. That is true, and it is also true that Hitler's Stormtroopers were extremely efficient, well oiled machines.

What happened during that terrible war in 1967, besides Israel being able to pummel its neighbors in Pearl Harbor style attacks and take over huge sections of Palestinian land from Syria, Egypt and Jordan- is the massive execution of Egyptian Prisoners of War by Israeli Defence Forces. This appears to be forgotten history in Egypt, but it shouldn't be. This nation once stood shoulder to shoulder with the people of Palestine, today Egypt is like a cruel step brother for the Jewish state.

In Mass Graves - In 1967 Six-Day War, Egyptian POWs Ordered to Dig Graves, Then Shot by Israeli Army by the University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth's Gabby Bron, an IDF reserve soldier during the Six Day War, we learn of the savage and to many unforgivable murders carried out by Israel's military:

On the third day of that war we saw Egyptian POWs being executed after a "court martial". The explanation given to us was that those killed were Palestinian "Fedayin" fighters from the Gaza Strip who had disguised themselves as soldiers in order to escape from our forces". I witnessed their executions with my own eyes in the morning of June 8, 1967 in the airport area in al-Arish, Sinai. This was where the headquarters of the brigade commanded by General Israel Tal, in which I had served, were located.

Stranger than fiction Order Now

Bron says that was just one day, and that by the next day a rumor was circulating that, "hundreds of Egyptian POWs who interfered with the advance of our forces", were liquidated. Apparently many of the older Israeli reserve soldiers objected to this treatment of POW's, but their objections were greeted with deadly threat by an Israeli officer named Colonel Eshel.

"When we didn't show any willingness to obey, Colonel Eshel pulled out his personal revolver and threatened us with it," Bron said.

Bron explains it is the well-authenticated claims made by of Dr. Aryeh Yitzhaki, that the elite unit "Shaked Patrol" of the Israeli army, then commanded by Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, who went on to become the Housing minister in Rabin's government, had murdered a number of Palestinians serving in a special battalion of the Egyptian army. These claims implicate Rabin who was the Chief of Staff at that time.

Dr. Aryeh Yitzhaki, a mainstream Israeli military historian, says all told, the IDF killed around a 1000 Egyptian POWs during the Six-Day War.

Ben-Eliezer "Shaked unit" was responsible for one-third of those murders.

And it is Israel that Egypt takes orders from today.

Those orders on this particular day, are to block the progress of the Road to Hope Convoy which is trying to reach Gaza where significant amounts of aid are scheduled to be delivered.

According to Ken O'Keefe, "Egypt has said that they will let us through by sea, the problem with that is the exorbitant expense. What the people of Gaza need is open borders and unhindered delivery of aid and ultimately trade. The R2H Convoy did not budget for an approx. £100,000 ship journey from Libya to Egypt, and why should we when a tourist can travel freely but aid cannot. This extra cost is reducing aid for the people in Gaza."

So what can people do to help?

Kieran Dowling says Irish people should send emails to the Egyptian Embassy in Dublin, their email is consular@embegyptireland.ie

Convoy member Ellie Merton says, "Our guys are moving camp to the 'Poet's Club' in city of Tobruk - a better location. Everyone is safe. Discussions with libyan middle-ranking officials still going on. We're pushing for a clear and concise answer from top brass Libyans - will they help or not. After that, we can make all kinds of plans. Positive stuff."

Everyone reading this should contact their nation's embassy connections with Egypt.

James Connolly put together the embassy phone numbers; he hopes others pass these numbers around and get the Gaza border open for the Road to Hope.

CONTACT EMBASSIES TO HELP:
USA 202 895 5400
Algeria (+21321) 691807
England (0207) 499 3304
France (+33) 491 250 404
Ireland (+353) 1 660 6718
Italy (+39) 6 844 0192
Jordan (+96) 23... 201 6181
Malaysia (+60) 3 4256 8184
Spain (+34) 91 577... 6308
Syria (+96311) 3330 756
Tunisia (+216) 7180 0447
Turkey (+90) 312 468 4647

Ken O'Keefe at the Libya border, November 1 2010:

Mass Graves: In 1967 Six-Day War, Egyptian POWs Ordered to Dig Graves, Then Shot by Israeli Army - By Gabby Bron

Previous reports on the Road to Hope Convoy:

Nov-01-2010: Road to Hope (R2H) Convoy in Positive Dialogue with Egyptian Officials - Salem-News.com

Oct-30-2010: Road to Hope Convoy Stalled at Egyptian Border - Salem-News.com

Oct-29-2010: Egypt Working with Road to Hope Convoy: Group Still Enroute to Gaza - Tim King Salem-News.com

Oct-26-2010: Road to Hope Convoy with Ken O'Keefe Approaching Gaza - Tim King Salem-News.com

Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.

Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 65 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can send Tim an email at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com




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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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