Middle East

‘Israel occupation nearing its end’

galoeyViva Palestina’s head, former UK lawmaker George Galloway (L) embraces a Palestinian Muslim cleric in Istanbul, Turkey on Tuesday, September 28, 2010.

A spokesman for the international Viva Palestina aid convoy, which is set to break Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip, says the Israeli occupation of Palestine is near its end.

“The life of the occupation is shortening,” a Press TV correspondent in Syria quoted Zaher Birawi as saying on Sunday.

Israeli forces said they withdrew from Gaza in 2005. The military, however, continues to carry out regular bloody attacks on the enclave.

Tel Aviv, meanwhile, retains its occupation of the Palestinian territories surrounding Gaza and has been keeping the coastal sliver under an all-out land, naval and aerial blockade for more than three years.

Viva Palestina has been arranged by a UK-based charity of the same name, headed by former British lawmaker George Galloway.

The convoy left London for Gaza earlier this month in its fifth attempt to bring relief supplies to the impoverished enclave.

It recently stopped by in Turkey, where it paid respect to Cetin Topcuoglu, one of the nine Turks who died in a May Israeli attack on the Freedom Flotilla — a Gaza-bound aid convoy.

Referring to Topcuoglu, Birawi said the occupation was in a state of decline as people “like our Shahid (martyr) and his brothers…give their blood, their lives for the sake of Palestine.”

“We feel that we are not alone and we are going towards the freedom of Palestine,” he said. “Giving our effort and our money…our support are steps towards the freedom of Palestine.”

Viva Palestina recently arrived in Syria, where it was greeted by thousands of supporters and joyously received by high-profile Syrian politicians, Alkatib said.

“The convoy will be boosted by more vehicles coming from different Arab countries, from Morocco to Qatar. The vehicles would outnumber 115,” he said.

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