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Jan 08, 2010
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British MP George Galloway: Britain Should Review Its Relations with the Dictatorship of Egypt

#2343 | 11:39
Source: Al-Jazeera Network (Qatar)Press TV (Iran)
George galloway transcript.doc

The following are excerpts from interviews with British MP George Galloway, which aired on Al-Jazeera TV and Press TV on January 8, 2010 and January 12, 2010. The excerpts are transcribed from the English.

Press TV, January 8, 2010:

Interviewer: This is the third 'Viva Palestina' convoy to cross into Gaza. Any more convoys? What you faced in Egypt – is this going to deter you?

George Galloway: It certainly will never deter me, but we have to find other ways. I myself have said that as long as the Egyptian government is building this "wall of shame" around Gaza, and as long as its whole policy in fact, is a wall of shame – so far as the Palestinians are concerned – I cannot myself see any more visits to Egypt.

I would find it very difficult to deal with the officials who cheated us. They signed an agreement with us in Aqaba – a solemn and binding agreement – and they broke it. They broke it spectacularly and with bloody results. So, there are other ways into Gaza – I'm exploring them – so you'll see Viva Palestina coming from all corners of the world.

Interviewer: Over a month on the road – many say that these symbolic convoys will not break the siege. They are wondering about the real purpose of such convoys.

George Galloway: They will not break the siege, but they will encourage the political conditions for the lifting of the siege. But if anybody has a better idea than these convoys, please let me know – I'm not so clever. If anybody has a better theory, or a better idea, of how to break the siege, please let me know and I'll follow them. I don't want to be the leader. I want to follow these leaders, who know better ways.

Interviewer: You meant to arrive to Gaza on the 27th of December, to mark the first anniversary [of the Gaza war]. Israel today is exercising military maneuvers to re-occupy Gaza and attack Gaza again. What is your response to the Israeli side?

George Galloway: This would be an extraordinarily stupid thing to try to do. It could only be achieved, if at all, with the deaths of thousands and thousands of people – including many on the Israeli side. The occupation – if they were successful in re-occupying Gaza – would not be able to sleep for one second, because the resistance here is absolute, and Israel doesn't have enough soldiers to occupy all of Gaza. So, I don't believe… But we can never be certain. We saw what they did on the 27th of December. They are capable of insane acts, and we must be on our guard.

Al-Jazeera TV, January 8, 2010:

George Galloway: I'm sorry to say that Egypt is deeply implicated in this siege. That's the reason for the revenge on me, and I hope not on the rest of the convoy. I hope they will stop at me. They hate these convoys because they expose the existence of a siege that Egypt denies.

[…]

I think Britain's relationship with this dictatorship should be reviewed, because all dictatorships fall, and their dungeons are cleared, and their victims released, and then the dictators run away with what they can steal, and their torturers hang from the highest trees.

[…]

I know that the regime, as I say, gorges itself on the billions of US dollars that it's given, leaving their people hungry, and they will not be affected by that kind of [British] boycott [on Egypt]. The only people who will be affected are the poor Egyptians.

[…]

I have been 35 years, this year, with the Arabs. If I had wanted an easy life, a prosperous life, by Allah, I would have joined the other side, because they know how to treat their friends. The Arabs, like the Arabs of last night – in the form of the government of Egypt – this is how they treat their friends from 17 countries, who crossed thousands of miles to help Palestine, and ended in hospital, their heads bleeding, being broken by big stones thrown by police officers. We have it on film. I myself filmed it from the roof. Police officers throwing huge stones at heads of civilian people, whose only crime was to try to reach Gaza with medicine for people who don’t have it.

[…]

All this disgrace and shame has been brought to the great country of Egypt. A country that is the beating heart of the Arabs is subjected to this shame and disgrace, with everybody pointing at her, everybody condemning her, because of these foolish actions by the government.

[…]

Interviewer: The Egyptian government has accused you and your convoy of instigating this crisis, saying that this is what led to the problem.

George Galloway: Well, your news cameras are taking pictures right now of all the young men on our convoy with bandages around their heads and blood on their faces and their clothes. I have 55 wounded members of our convoy of 500. This is more than 10% of the convoy, which arrived in Gaza, bleeding. Bleeding! And for what? All because they forced us to go to this Al-Arish port - a tiny little space that they locked us in, behind gates - locked, with no toilets, no access to shops for food or water. They locked us in, and they trapped us, and they betrayed us, and then they say that we fabricated it.

Well, blood cannot easily be fabricated. Broken bones cannot easily be fabricated. Unfortunately for them, Al-Jezeera and other television satellites were there, inside the compound, filming the crime that was committed against us last night. What a shame! You know, I begged Egypt over and over again - please, please, please – don't turn the 27th of December into a problem for you. Let's make the 27th of December a problem for Israel…

[…]

This is our third convoy. Every convoy has been accompanied by these kinds of disasters. In March from Salum, in July from Cairo - you know this. I waited weeks with a convoy from the United States to enter for 24 hours to Gaza, without the vehicles that we had bought in Egypt, to use as the carriers of the medicine that we had bought. Every convoy has been accompanied by these difficulties - and not just my convoys. Every convoy that ever comes to Egypt faces these difficulties.

Interviewer: Why is this, George?

George Galloway: Let me add one point…

Interviewer: Go ahead.

George Galloway: Because the government of Egypt is a part of the siege of the Palestinian people in Gaza – there's no point in hiding this. I spent a long time trying to finesse this point, because I don't want to break…

Interviewer: What interest does the Egyptian government have in this siege?

George Galloway: …I wanted to blame Israel only.

Interviewer: What interest does the Egyptian government have in this siege?

George Galloway: Let me tell you… They are building a wall – a wall of shame – around Gaza, a wall of shame to help to strangle the people of Gaza, for political reasons. And why? Because the people of Palestine voted in free and fair elections – something which the poor Egyptians don't often have the opportunity of enjoying – and they voted for a party which Egypt, Israel, Britain, and America don't like.

As a matter of fact, I'm not, myself, a Hamas supporter. I was with Abu Ammar, Yasser Arafat, all my life, but the only people who have the right to choose the leadership of the Palestinian people are the Palestinian people themselves – not Egypt, not Israel, not Britain, or the United States of America. That's why they are strangling the people of Gaza – and now the whole world knows. The wall of shame is not just a wall they are building, with the assistance of the United States military, to strangle the people by blocking the tunnels. It's a wall – a total wall of shame – of their policy of collaborating with Israel, and of starving the people of Gaza, hoping that they will surrender.

[…]

We believed, stupidly actually… I believed their emissary, whom they sent to us, when he told me that they were trying everything to make everything go smoothly. In fact, that night ended in blood and broken bones. So, I personally will never again negotiate with any member of the government of Egypt. In fact, it's very unlikely that after I leave here tomorrow, I will ever set foot in Egypt again, whilst this wall of shame, and this policy of the wall of shame, surround this whole subject.

Now, the government will be happy to hear that. I think the people, or many of them, will be sad – but after spending all these days looking into the eyes of people who are telling me how much they admire our work, how much they love Palestine, how much they wanted to help Gaza… And then they betrayed us with blood and broken bones. Personally, I can never forgive them.

[…]

Interviewer: The Egyptian foreign minister and Egyptian officials have said that they were protecting Egyptian sovereignty, and that what you have done is a violation of Egyptian sovereignty.

George Galloway: Well, we went to Al-Arish, and look what happened. Nuweiba is a huge… They accused me of trying to come through the window, but Nuweiba is a huge international port. Al-Arish is a tiny postage stamp. It's Al-Arish that is the window. It's Nuweiba that was the door. Why didn't they allow us to sail just four hours for $55 each to Nuweiba's great international port? Because they wanted to cause us the maximum trouble. Because they are so foolish that they could not calculate that the end result would be their name scandalized across the whole world.

Press TV, January 12, 2010:

George Galloway: I think all Arabs, actually, and all Palestinians are with us – other than those in the government houses, who have sold themselves to the devil. Some of them are belly-dancing with the enemy, with the people causing this siege. So what can you expect from them?!

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