Anti-Israel British parliamentarian George Galloway suffered another setback this week in his bid to enter Canada after his attorney had to reschedule a court appeal due to a mishap with his foot.
The attorney was taken to hospital with the foot injury in Toronto on Monday ,just before the hearing was scheduled to begin. The British MP was blocked from making a four-city speaking tour in March 2009, when Canadian immigration officials declared him to be a supporter of terrorism due to his support for Hamas, which appears on the list of recognized terrorist organizations. Galloway denies the charge, which he called “bogus”. (Israel news photo/Flash 90 - At left, British MP George Galloway receives VIP Palestinian "passport" from Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on March 10, 2009)
At least one British blogger who repeated the court's claim has allegedly been sued by Galloway for defamation of character.
The case is scheduled to return to court in Toronto on Wednesday, and Galloway is optimistic the ban will be revoked. “The fact that a British MP of 23 years' standing can travel in and out of the U.S. but not be allowed into Canada is simply ridiculous,” he told the British Guardian last week.
Galloway, who led a convoy of some 150 trucks of humanitarian aid to Gaza through Egypt earlier this year, is campaigning hard for re-election on May 1 to represent the Respect party in the British parliament. Galloway's official website makes no mention of Hamas, though he has been photographed numerous times together with members of the group. (Israel news photo/Flash 90 - At right, Galloway arrives in Gaza from Egypt via the Rafiah crossing on January 6, 2010)
The leftist lawmaker attempted to pressure Cairo into allowing hundreds of vehicles to enter Egypt through Nuweiba from Aqaba, Jordan. This would have enabled the convoy to bypass the Israeli checkpoints stationed at the Gaza crossings and head straight across the Sinai Peninsula in a shortcut to the Rafiah crossing.
Egypt refused to allow it, insisting instead that aid to Gaza should be sent through recognized international channels. Ultimately a compromise was reached, and some of the vehicles were allowed to pass through Rafiah after a long delay; however, most were blocked on the grounds that private vehicles are not allowed to pass into the region from Egypt.
The 'Viva Palestina' convoy collapsed in clashes with Egyptian security forces, sponsored by the Hamas terrorist organization. The violence ended with the fatal shooting of an Egyptian border guard by a Hamas sniper. Dozens of others were wounded in the clashes.
Galloway accused the Egyptian government of breaching its agreement with the convoy. He and other members of 'Viva Palestina' were deported from Egypt, and the Egyptian government declared that the British MP was no longer welcome in the country. Cairo also decided that no similar convoys would be allowed to pass through Egypt in the future. The last post on the 'Viva Palestina' website is dated January 6, 2010.