Egypt Independent

Freedom Flotilla 2 organizers welcome Al-Masry Al-Youm initiative



An Al-Masry Al-Youm-sponsored initiative inviting the Freedom Flotilla 2 to sail from Egypt after the Gaza-bound convoy was prevented from leaving Greece has been well-received in Egypt and abroad.

Al-Masry Al-Youm published an editorial on the issue, calling for a public campaign and created a Facebook page and Twitter feed to publicize it.

Adam Shapiro, an American activist currently in Greece, said several of the flotilla activists came to Cairo while the convoy was being organized to examine the possibility of setting sail from Egypt.

He said they met with Egypt's assistant foreign minister for Palestinian affairs, who told them Egypt is bound by a peace treaty with Israel and therefore cannot allow the flotilla to sail from its ports.

However, official diplomatic sources told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the Foreign Ministry is still considering the initiative and will comment on it later.

Mahmoud Abu Hamed, general coordinator for the Muslim Association of Greece, said discussions have been ongoing since Tuesday to determine how the initiative should be handled. The notion that it might be possible to set sail from Egypt has "raised the morale of all Egyptians and Arabs in Europe," he said.

The Greek and Arab convoy organizers want to know how the convoy would proceed from Egypt to Gaza, said Abu Hamed, adding that they want genuine guarantees from the Egyptian government that any bureaucratic obstacles will be removed.

Meanwhile, Naeem al-Ghandour, president of the Muslim Union of Greece and one of the organizers of the aid convoy, said the initiative has raised the spirits of all organizers after feeling frustrated about what happened in Greece.

Makram Mohamed Ahmed, head of the Arab Journalists Union, said the union welcomes the effort and is ready to participate.

Hamdi Khalifa, head of the Arab Lawyers Union, described the initiative as "important and a national duty," saying the union will provide any necessary assistance.

Shawqi al-Haddad, general secretary for the Doctors Syndicate, expressed similar sentiments, adding that he would bring up the possibility of the syndicate's participation at a meeting Friday.

Translated from the Arabic Edition