Egypt blocking aid from reaching Gaza
2nd November 2009
Egyptian authorities are blocking the passage of a European Humanitarian aid convoy over land. Convoy organisers are now planning take a sea route to El Arish city within the next two days.
The Miles of Smiles convoy has been stranded off the Egyptian harbour of Port Said for almost three weeks despite previously being assured by the Egyptians of safe passage over land into Gaza.
Dr. Arafat Abu Madi, who is in charge of the convoy, has written to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, asking him to put pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to open all the border crossings immediately, to allow humanitarian aid and reconstruction material into the Gaza Strip.
"I am afraid that the children of Gaza will pay the price...It is unacceptable " said Zahir Berawi, spokesman for the convoy. Berawi also pointed out the high costs of the sea option, estimated to be around $150,000.
The convoy organisers had also offered to donate substantial portion of the estimated shipping costs to Egyptian charities in exchange for being allowed to travel over land, but the Egyptian authorities obstinately refused.
The Miles for Smiles convoy consists of 57 Containers, 110 Vehicles, 275 Electric wheelchairs and other equipemnt to replace items destroyed by the Israeli war on Gaza.
115 people from 10 European countries including European Parliamentarians are on board the aid convoy.