A suspect police stunt

THE massive aid convoy which left for Gaza at the weekend speaks volumes for the decency and compassion of the ordinary British people.

It included a dozen ambulances, a fire engine, a total of 110 vehicles and £1 million worth of aid.

The sheer scale of the aid mission, which was organised in less than four weeks, stands in stark contrast to the disgraceful heedlessness of the British Establishment.

It puts to shame the government’s blatant collaboration with the Israeli murderers whose vicious attack on the people of Gaza resulted in the deaths of 1,300 Gazans in collective punishment for a series of rocket attacks that cost the lives of less than a score of Israelis over a period of some years.

The silence of Gordon Brown over the Israeli atrocity and his feeble attempts to equate the two sides in the course of Israel’s state terrorist attack on the comparatively defenceless people of Gaza left a bad taste in the mouth and besmirched any reputation (admittedly small) that Britain might have left in the region.

The convoy will go a long way towards conveying to Gazans that the government’s bloodstained and bloody-minded attitude is not shared by us all.

However, it may take more than that to wipe out the inaction of Middle East peace envoy Tony Blair.

We are told that Mr Blair holds court at the American Colony hotel in east Jerusalem. He is hiring an entire floor of the hotel at a cost of about £700,000 a year.

But we are also told that this so-called peace envoy has not even set foot in Gaza since his appointment.

And, to cap it all, he was apparently on holiday when the assault on Gaza was at its height. A more pointed insult to the Palestinians is hard to imagine.

The convoy also puts in perspective the refusal by certain pro-Israeli BBC executives to screen the appeal for aid for the people of Gaza.

BBC broadcast or no, the convoy was raised, staffed and supplied in just four weeks, proving that the Israel lobby cannot stifle the outrage felt by Britain’s people at the Gaza atrocity, an outrage that was markedly sharpened by the accurate perception that the assault was timed, not in response to unbearable provocation, but as an aid to the election campaign of pro-war Israeli parties.

However, the machinations of the pro-Israel lobby appear not to stop there.

The stunt, for it can only be described as such, of the police intercepting several vehicles on the M65 on their way to join the convoy, as a part of an operation under the much-abused anti-terror laws, was a clear and unprincipled attempt to discredit the convoy.

Nine people were detained, but six of them were released almost immediately without charge.

Of the three still detained, it is claimed that they had been under observation for some time.

If that is the case, why wait to arrest them until the police had to close a motorway to do so?

And, if they are so dangerous, why is it that, according to the authorities, they didn’t even bother using armed police?

Again, according to the authorities, they are not suspected of any terrorist activity in Britain.

We are told that the interception was part of an “intelligence-led” anti-terror operation.

So, one might recall, was the gunning down of innocent electrician Jean Charles de Menezes.

Whatever the outcome of this current “anti-terror” action, there are many questions regarding its timing and its political motivation that cry out for answers from those responsible.