Daily Israel Report

First African Muslim Convoy to Gaza

First African convoy aims to stick Israel with “apartheid state” label; aid organized by banned radical Muslim group.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 5/1/2011, 10:52 PM / Last Update: 5/2/2011, 2:16 AM

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Two Muslim groups in South Africa are planning the first African convoy to Gaza, in coordination with Hamas and the IHH. One of the organizations, the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), is banned in the United States and Israel due to its financial support for terrorism.

The convoy plans to travel in June, and pass through many African states, among them Sudan. Israeli security officials have expressed concern that the stop in Sudan could give the Hamas network there a chance to ship weapons to Hamas in Gaza, or to send terrorists with advanced training.

Organizers appear to be hoping that the convoy's origin in South Africa, the former apartheid state, will help to stick the “apartheid state” label on Israel. In addition, they hope to raise support for Hamas among Africans, by stopping at various points along the way and spreading their message.

The convoy has been timed to coincide with a planned flotilla to Gaza, which organizers hope will set sail from Europe in late June, and head for Gaza with the aim of breaking through the IDF's naval blockade on Hamas.

The African convoy will send its cargo by sea, but will rejoin the cargo in Egypt and bring the goods into Gaza by land.

The second main organization behind the convoy is the South African branch of the Al Quds International Institute, an international Muslim group that strives to promote Jerusalem as a Muslim and Arab city. The Al Quds Institute and MJC have support from several other Muslim groups, among them charitable organizations, universities and schools.

The South Africa convoy is also unusual as a convoy to Gaza from a country that suffers a much worse standard of living in many ways. Gaza residents enjoy a much lower mortality rate than their South African counterparts, and overall life expectancy is more than 24 years higher. While Gaza residents are more likely to live below the poverty line, due largely to their much higher natural growth rate, they also receive much more international aid, particularly from the United Nations.

Similarly, many of the states through which the convoy will travel in its attempts to raise support, among them Malawi, Zambia, and Sudan, suffer a much higher mortality rate and significantly lower average income than Gaza.