In 2009 George Galloway was denied entry into Canada. The grounds for the ban were based on his aid convoy to Gaza where he gave cash directly to Hamas. The Government is saying he was giving money to a terrorist organization while Galloway claims he was offering aid to the people of Gaza and their elected Government. Today Galloway had his day in court.
His lawyers have argued that there is no difference between Galloway giving money to help the people of Gaza and the Canadian government or other Governments of the world providing aid to Gaza. If he is a terrorist than the Prime Minister is a terrorist. No matter what the courts decide Galloway has won the publicity war. He has painted himself as a hero on a simple mission to help those in need.
The details of his trip tell a very different story. The rest of the world follows a standard protocal for delivering aid to Gaza. Most aid is transferred through Israel. During Operation Cast Lead, Israel stopped fighting to allow aid convoys to pass through the border even though Israeli positions were under fire. Israel has continued sending aid into Gaza to provide for basic needs. Thousands of Palestinians have gone to Israel to seek medical treatment. A field hospital during the operation was shut down, when Hamas blocked their wounded from seeking medical attention that Israel was offering.
Galloway intentionally ignored protocol because he wanted things done his way. He angered Egyptian officials who stopped him at their border and insisted the aid be transferred through Israel. He faced numerous delays all for the ability to give his cash gift directly into the hands of Hamas leadership instead of UN agencies that could gaurentee the money went to the needy. If the aid really was urgently needed he could have had it delivered a lot faster through normal channels.
Hamas has brought the problems in Gaza upon themselves. They threw Fatah memebers off of buildings tied to chairs as they took control of Gaza by force. They fired rockets at Israeli civilians for years with no regrets. They are holding captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in the hopes of exchanging him for 1000 prisoners. They have violated the Geneva Convention by not allowing Red Cross visits or contact with his family. Israel had to release prisoners from jail just for a video tape confirming he was alive. Negotiations have broken down because Hamas wants those serving multiple life sentences for carrying out terrorist attacks to be free.
The court is dealing with a difficult case as the evaluate issues of free speech and alleged Government interference. No matter what the out come of Galloway's admissibility hopefully the courts will clarify that there is a huge difference between giving money directly to a terrorist organizations like Hamas and transferring aid through organization that are supposed to have safe guards to make sure aid gets to the people and not confiscated for future terrorist attacks. Failure to make this distinction will open up a whole can of worms, as other take the opportunity to disguise their political aspirations as merely helping those in need.