News / Middle East

Aid to Gaza Strip Arriving from Egypt

A young Palestinian boy is among those allowed into Egypt for medical treatment, Rafah, Egypt, 02 Jun 2010
A young Palestinian boy is among those allowed into Egypt for medical treatment, Rafah, Egypt, 02 Jun 2010
Elizabeth Arrott

Humanitarian aid is entering the Gaza Strip after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ordered the opening of the Rafah border crossing with the Palestinian territory.  But few Palestinians are able to take advantage of the chance to enter Egypt.  

Moustafa Youssef needs help hauling his suitcase across the no-man's land between Egypt and Gaza.  He has a long-standing heart condition, which normally is a liability.  But in Youssef's case, he has medical permits letting him leave Gaza.  

Seeking refuge from the blistering sun in the shadow of the crossing wall, he has nothing but praise for the country he has just entered.    

He asks God to protect Egypt, saying that for Gazans "it is the only lung we have to breathe with." Without Egypt, he says, it is like living in a zoo - "We cannot move."



With the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza under blockade, Egypt is a sporadic lifeline, with brief openings coming every month or so.  But after Israel's raid on a flotilla trying to break the siege, Egypt, caught between its relations with Israel and the anger of other Arab nations, says Rafah would stay open indefinitely.

There are limits to who and what can pass - mainly people with medical emergencies and deliveries of humanitarian aid.   

At the border, Red Crescent trucks stacked with blankets, food and medicine idle as aid workers wait for clearance to pass through.

Ordinary Palestinians returning home take the opportunity to bring in other goods.  Ashraf el Najar is driving a pick-up truck loaded with an electric fan, a refrigerator and other household goods.

Najar says he accompanied a relative for medical treatment in Cairo.  He bought the appliances on the way back, he says, because his house in Khoza'a, near Khan Younis, was demolished during the last Israeli attack on Gaza.

He is referring to Israel's war last year against Hamas militants.  While Israel has deplored Hamas attacks on Israeli territory, Egypt also takes a dim view of the group, which runs the region along its border.  The group's rise to power in 2007 prompted Egypt, which is wary of like-minded Islamists at home, to say it would only deal with the ousted Palestinian Authority on the border issue.   

While the problem of the blockade continues to be debated at higher political levels, those most affected try their best to work around it.

A young mother stands with her five-year-old daughter here at the eastern edge of the Sinai, waiting to return to their home in Gaza.  The little girl has a patch over one eye, evidence of a recent operation to correct a damaged nerve.  

Her mother says help is not available in Gaza, so for a year she asked for permission to take her daughter to Jerusalem, but with no success.   She too is grateful for Egypt's current opening of the border, but she says she wants it to be permanent.  Her daughter needs to come back for follow-up treatment next month, and she says she worries that the border will be closed.

You May Like

Video Obama to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, President says US will take leadership role for a global response to deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging West Africa More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Spacei
X
September 17, 2014 4:20 AM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid