< HOME  Friday, November 13, 2009

After 25 day wait, Miles For Smiles enters Gaza

Gaza – Ma’an – The European medical aid convoy “Miles of Smiles” arrived in Gaza late night Wednesday night after spending 25 days waiting on the Egyptian side of the crossing.

Hamdi Sha’th, head of the committee against the siege, told Ma’an over the phone that the convoy will stay in Gaza only 48 hours and will leave on Friday after the noon prayer. The short trip was part of the terms negotiated by Egyptian border officials.

Initial conditions were set at a 24-hour visit, but negotiations with convoy leaders saw the timeframe extended by a day.

The group brings into the Strip 100 small trucks loaded with medical aid and nearly 260 wheelchairs in addition to a number of ambulances, 102 cars for transportation of the disabled and computers for schools damaged during the last war.

Sha’th said the convoy consisted of 60 individuals from 10 different European countries, who would travel to the northern Strip where they would meet with members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, then head to the Ash-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, which bore the brunt of casualties from Israel's last war on the area in December and January. Later in the day the delegation will meet families of prisoners being held in Israel, and finally a meeting with de facto government officials.

Minister of Labor and Social Affairs in the de facto government Ahmad Al-Kurd said in a news conference after the convoy arrived in Gaza that it was carrying a moral message to the world, demanding they “stop besieging one and a half million Palestinians," and will carry the "devastating humanitarian impact” of the siege back to their countries and spread the word.

Convoy coordinator Dr Issam Younis said “we’ve come to draw a smile on the faces of Gaza’s children and on the faces of every child and youth who has been assaulted, to tell them that there is life is ahead of you and your goal is unique and we are with you.”

Hamas warns of another israeli assault on Gaza


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