15 February 2003

Bad weather holds up docking

Bad weather and congestion at the port of Ashdod in Israel means a last minute delay for the Dove and Dolphin mission.
They are now expected to dock at the earliest on Sunday afternoon. This may be delayed until Monday morning.
They expect to load the cargo on to lorries and move off from the port to the border town of Karni, about an hour’s drive from Ashdod.
At Karni the cargo will be transferred to Palestinian lorries and the team led by David Halpin from Haytor in Devon expect to stay with the convoy.
There is a chance however that they will not be allowed through at Karni. In that case, the team will make its way round to the town of Erez on the north of the Gaza strip, where they would hope to gain entry in order to meet up with the convoy.
They will all then travel together to drop-off points in Gaza City and the refugee camp at Khan Yunis.
Yousef Zawahreh, from London, is part of the Dove and Dolphin team now on the ground in Israel.
He is one of two volunteers who are there to make all necessary arrangerments for the arrival of the M V Barbara and the transfer of its cargo.
As Saturday is the Sabbath in Israel, all docking operations will cease. But Yousef aims to talk directly to the authorities on Sunday to make sure everything that can be done is being done to ensure the safe and speedy arrival of the cargo.
He is also in discussion with the Israeli Foreign Office over the team’s desire to travel with the cargo into Gaza.
With Yousef is Phil Ireland from Exmouth is Devon. Part of his job is to photograph the arrival of the boat, its crew and cargo, to record the whole journey to Gaza and the handover of the food, clothes, medical supplies and raw materials.
Jenny Cuffe from BBC radio Four is also there. She is working on a documentary to be broadcast later in the year.