A humanitarian aid bridge of solidarity from London to Gaza

MAP's second convoy of five trucks carrying drugs and medical supplies with $500,000 entering Gaza via the Rafah Crossing. (Supplied/MAP)
MAP's second convoy of five trucks carrying drugs and medical supplies with $500,000 entering Gaza via the Rafah Crossing. (Supplied/MAP)
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Updated 24 December 2023
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A humanitarian aid bridge of solidarity from London to Gaza

A humanitarian aid bridge of solidarity from London to Gaza
  • British aid group collects $1 million in essential medical aid bound for Gaza
  • Global outcry and aid efforts rise as Gaza faces devastating war aftermath

JEDDAH: For over two months, the world has watched in utter horror as more than 20,000 Palestinians have been killed, over 50,000 injured and millions displaced in the Gaza Strip due to Israel’s relentless bombardment. The situation spiraled out of control in the early days of the war and the enclave’s already frail healthcare system collapsed almost immediately. But hope is on the way.

One hospital after another went out of service as missiles struck some of Gaza’s largest and most specialized facilities, bringing doctors and health care workers to their knees trying to save the lives of the injured. The scenes have become ever so prevalent now; bodies of children charred or riddled with shrapnel, body parts collected in bags and lifeless victims laying on floors as stretchers are needed for the living. The scenes coming from Gaza cannot be more horrid.

For the past few months, overwhelmed doctors treating victims needed to resort to performing surgeries and amputations without anesthesia, disinfectant or drugs. With no end in sight, supplies have dwindled and less than a quarter of the enclave’s 35-36 hospitals and 72 primary healthcare centers are in operation, but the international community has not abandoned the people of Gaza.

Coinciding with the season of giving, hundreds of aid groups and charities, and millions of people have protested the war on Gaza and gathered funds to help Palestinians.

Responding to the emergency, London-based charity Medical Aid for Palestinians launched a campaign to collect and deliver medical aid. Officials told Arab News that the charity is working with the Health Ministry in Gaza and delivering medical aid to its warehouses. The aid is then distributed to facilities in southern and central Gaza, including Nasser Hospital and European Gaza Hospital in Khan Younis, Shuhada Al-Aqsa Hospital in the Middle Area and Abu Yousef Al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah.




Responding to the emergency, London-based charity Medical Aid for Palestinians launched a campaign to collect and deliver medical aid. (Supplied/MAP)

So far, more than $1 million worth of medical supplies have been gathered and a second convoy has been dispatched to deliver over $500,000 worth of essential aid to hospitals in Gaza’s south.

“Fourteen trucks have already been sent into Gaza, and we plan on sending more,” Fikr Shalltoot, MAP’s Gaza director, told Arab News. “Two food trucks are queuing right now and we hope this will cross within the next few days. These trucks include food, water and some non-food items including mattresses and blankets, and this is mainly to support the team in Gaza and distribute to those in need in the shelters.”

The charity is now procuring medical supplies for trauma and primary healthcare centers specializing in hematology, oncology and hemodialysis, among others. About 15 trucks are expected to bring the much-needed aid to Gaza.

MAP is also cooperating with a number of organizations including Save the Children, IRC and Shelterbox to forward drugs and medical supplies to Al-Arish. The charity’s team on the ground will be responsible for delivering the aid through Rafah and distributing it to different hospitals inside Gaza.

“We’re closely coordinating with the Egyptian Red Crescent society and they’ve kept us informed with the movement of the trucks passing through Rafah, in order to relay to our team on the ground to meet the trucks at the Palestinian side. They’ll then either deliver to the key warehouses or directly to the hospitals,” Shalltoot said.

“We’re also working with other healthcare centers not affiliated with the Ministry of Health including the Palestinian Medical Relief Society, Culture and Free Thought Association, Abdel-Shafi Association and a number of other health care centers and local NGOs in order to support the provision of primary healthcare at the shelters and locations where the internally displaced people are.”

In the UK, MAP is continuing to focus on influencing decision-makers through sustained advocacy and campaigning. The charity’s goal is to secure a swift and lasting ceasefire.

MAP is engaging with both the UK government and opposition parties within Britain, calling on its supporters to reach out to MPs and urge for a definitive end to Israel’s hostilities.


Beirut airport busy with Eid visitors despite tense security situation

Beirut airport busy with Eid visitors despite tense security situation
Updated 15 June 2024
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Beirut airport busy with Eid visitors despite tense security situation

Beirut airport busy with Eid visitors despite tense security situation
  • Motorcyclist killed in Israeli drone strike as Hezbollah keeps up retaliatory attacks
  • Festival brings challenges for Lebanese forced to flee their homes

BEIRUT: Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International Airport witnessed an influx of arrivals on Saturday as Lebanese expatriates and tourists ignored the hostilities in the south and traveled to celebrate the Eid Al-Adha holiday.

European embassies had earlier issued warnings against visiting Lebanon because of the tense security situation, but these failed to deter expatriates and visitors, mainly from Iraq and Egypt, arriving for Eid.

On the eve of the holiday, there was a noticeable discrepancy in the prices of sacrificial animals in the Lebanese market, along with an unjustified increase in meat prices.

Majed Eid, secretary of the Syndicate of Butchers, Importers, and Traders of Live Livestock, said that imports of sacrificial animals from abroad had fallen this year compared with previous years.

The security situation in the Tyre area has led to reduced shopping activities as Eid approaches, despite the substantial influx of expatriates who typically boost commercial and economic activity there.

Tyre Traders Association Secretary Ghazwan Halawani said that the preparations for Eid seemed ordinary, with no noticeable improvement in commercial activity, sales, or market visitors.

He attributed the decline to anxiety over military operations on the border and Israeli attacks on civilians.

On the eve of Eid Al-Adha, thousands of families from the southern region headed to their villages near the border despite the hostilities.

Issa, a butcher, planned to spend the holiday with his family, even though his area had been sporadically shelled in the past few months.

“Nothing will happen to us except what God has destined for us,” he said.

The Eid holiday will be challenging for the people of the south, especially those who fled their villages eight months ago.

Eid Al-Adha presents significant challenges for the displaced southerners, with almost 100,000 people forced to leave their villages.

Nabatieh Gov. Hwaida Turk told Arab News that 65 towns in Nabatieh Governorate had been subjected to “systematic shelling and fires due to Israeli attacks.”

Some towns were almost destroyed, she said.

Turk said that residents of the front-line towns, especially in the Marjayoun and Hasbaya areas, did not return for Eid.

However, villages and towns to the rear are crowded with displaced people alongside their original inhabitants.

She said the people in the southern region tried to celebrate Eid with hope despite the difficult economic conditions.

Hezbollah kept up retaliatory attacks on Israel on Saturday, days after an airstrike killed one of its commanders.

Aerial attacks on both sides escalated, with Hezbollah saying that it carried out an attack “with a fleet of suicide drones on the Khirbet Maer base, destroying part of it.”

The attack was in response to the killing of a senior Hezbollah commander, Sami Hassan Taleb, nicknamed Abu Taleb, along with three others, in an Israeli attack on their location in Jouaiyya several days ago.

Israeli Army Radio reported that a fire erupted in the Goren settlement in western Galilee after several Hezbollah drones struck the area.

As part of the escalation, Hezbollah targeted the headquarters of the air surveillance and operations management unit at the Meron base.

Israeli media outlets said that “two anti-armor missiles launched from the Meron base were targeted.”

Hezbollah said that it struck a group of Israeli soldiers at the Hadab Yaron site with a missile, killing or injuring several.

An Israeli military drone strike early on Saturday killed a motorcyclist at the Bint Jbeil–Maroun Ras intersection. Another person was injured in the resulting fire.

The outskirts of Deir Mimas and the Aaziyyeh Hill were subject to phosphorus shelling, causing fires to erupt in forests.

Israeli army spokesperson Avichay Adraee claimed that “an air force plane targeted a Hezbollah vandal in Aitaroun,” adding that “the Israeli army shelled the area with artillery.”

 

 


Palestinian teenager killed in West Bank raid

Palestinian teenager killed in West Bank raid
Updated 15 June 2024
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Palestinian teenager killed in West Bank raid

Palestinian teenager killed in West Bank raid
  • Israel has killed at least 37,296 Palestinians in Gaza, mostly civilians, according to the territory’s health ministry

RAMALLAH: The Palestinian Health Ministry said Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian teenager in the occupied West Bank on Saturday, as an army official confirmed troops opened fire during a raid.
Sultan Abdul Rahman Khatatbeh, 16, was killed by Israeli fire in the northern West Bank town of Beit Furik, the ministry said in a statement published on Facebook.
Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that two others were injured when Israeli forces stormed the town east of Nablus, “firing live bullets at local residents.”

HIGHLIGHTS

• Sultan Abdul Rahman Khatatbeh, 16, was killed by Israeli fire in the northern West Bank town of Beit Furik.

• Two others were injured when Israeli forces stormed the town east of Nablus, ‘firing live bullets at local residents.’

An Israeli military official said that troops were operating in the Nablus area when “dozens of suspects hurled rocks at Israeli security forces, who responded with riot dispersal means and live fire.”
“Hits were identified,” the official said.
The West Bank, which Israel has occupied since 1967, has seen a surge in violence for more than a year, particularly since the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza erupted on Oct. 7.
At least 546 Palestinians have been killed in the territory by Israeli troops or settlers since the Gaza war broke out, according to Palestinian officials.
At least 37,296 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s military campaign, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.
Also on Saturday, the armed wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad said the only way to return Israeli hostages is through Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, ending its offensive and reaching a deal for exchanging Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners.
The spokesman of Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian group, made the remarks in a video posted on Telegram.

 


‘Miscalculation’ could lead to wider Hezbollah-Israel conflict, say UN officials

‘Miscalculation’ could lead to wider Hezbollah-Israel conflict, say UN officials
Updated 49 min 24 sec ago
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‘Miscalculation’ could lead to wider Hezbollah-Israel conflict, say UN officials

‘Miscalculation’ could lead to wider Hezbollah-Israel conflict, say UN officials
  • “The danger of miscalculation leading to a sudden and wider conflict is very real,” the two officials said
  • The United States and France are working on a negotiated settlement to the hostilities along Lebanon’s southern border

BEIRUT: There is a “very real” risk that a miscalculation along Lebanon’s southern border could trigger a wider conflict between Hezbollah and the Israeli military, two UN officials in Lebanon warned on Saturday.
The United Nations special coordinator for Lebanon, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, and the head of UN peacekeeping forces in Lebanon, Aroldo Lazaro, said they were “deeply concerned” about the recent escalation along Lebanon’s border.
Iran-backed Hezbollah last week launched the largest volleys of rockets and drones yet in the eight months it has been exchanging fire with the Israeli military, in parallel with the Gaza war.
“The danger of miscalculation leading to a sudden and wider conflict is very real,” the two officials said in a written statement on Saturday.
The United States and France are working on a negotiated settlement to the hostilities along Lebanon’s southern border. Hezbollah says it will not halt fire unless Israel’s military offensive on Gaza stops.


Egyptian president tours Prophet’s biography museum

Egyptian president tours Prophet’s biography museum
Updated 15 June 2024
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Egyptian president tours Prophet’s biography museum

Egyptian president tours Prophet’s biography museum
  • El-Sisi explored the various creative pavilions that illustrate aspects of the Prophet Muhammad’s life

RIYADH: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi visited the International Fair and Museum of the Prophet’s Biography and Islamic Civilization in Madinah, Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

During his tour on Friday, El-Sisi explored the various creative pavilions that illustrate aspects of the Prophet Muhammad’s life.

He viewed the panorama of the prophet’s chamber, which showcases authentic details of its construction and development through to the modern era.

El-Sisi was also introduced to a simulation of the Prophet’s pulpit, displayed through models and smart interactive screens. The exhibition highlighted the Kingdom’s efforts in serving the Qur’an and the Two Holy Mosques.

Expressing his admiration for the exhibition and museum project, El-Sisi extended his gratitude to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for their efforts and hospitality.
 


8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza
Updated 15 June 2024
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8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza
  • The deaths will likely fuel calls for a ceasefire and heighten Israeli public anger over ultra-Orthodox exemptions from the military
  • In January, 21 Israeli troops were killed in a single attack by Palestinian militants in Gaza

JERUSALEM: Israel’s military said Saturday that eight soldiers were killed in southern Gaza in the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.
The troops were killed in an explosion, the army said, without elaborating. The deaths will likely fuel calls for a ceasefire and heighten Israeli public anger over ultra-Orthodox exemptions from the military.
In January, 21 Israeli troops were killed in a single attack by Palestinian militants in Gaza.
Last month, Israel’s Supreme Court ordered an end to government subsidies for many ultra-Orthodox men who don’t serve in the army. A new draft law hasn’t been passed, but the coalition of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week voted in favor of extending exemptions for religious men. Although the vote was only procedural, it caused an uproar by being approved during a war in which hundreds of soldiers have died and many others remain inside Gaza or on the front lines against Hezbollah militants in Lebanon.
Yoav Gallant, Israel’s Defense Minister and member of the country’s War Cabinet, has insisted that all sectors of Israeli society should contribute equally during its war against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.
Israel’s coalition government contains a powerful bloc of ultra-Orthodox parties that have been longtime partners of Netanyahu. If these parties leave the government, the country would be forced into new elections, with Netanyahu trailing significantly in the polls amid the war.
In Tel Aviv, anti-government protests have been ongoing for months, with many demonstrators calling for the immediate return of the hostages, along with Netanyahu’s resignation.
Israel’s bombardment and ground offensives in Gaza have killed more than 37,000 Palestinians, according to Palestinian health officials, who don’t give the breakdown of civilians and fighters. The war has also driven about 80 percent of the population of 2.3 million from their homes, and Israeli restrictions and ongoing fighting have hindered efforts to bring in humanitarian aid, fueling widespread hunger.
Israel launched its campaign after Hamas and other militants stormed into Israel on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking around 250 hostage. More than 100 hostages were released during a weeklong ceasefire last year in exchange for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel. Hamas is believed to be holding around 80 hostages and the remains of another 40.
Months of ceasefire negotiations have failed to find common ground between Israeli and Hamas. On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Hamas proposed changes to a US-backed plan, some of which he said were “workable” and some not.
Hamas has continually called for a permanent ceasefire and complete Israeli troop withdrawal from Gaza as part of any deal that would see the hostages released. While the proposal announced by US President Joe Biden includes these two provisions, Hamas has expressed concern about whether Israel will commit to them.
Violence has flared in the West Bank since the Israel-Hamas war erupted. On Saturday, a 16-year-old Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli forces near the northern city of Nablus, the Ramallah-based Health Ministry said. The Israeli army didn’t immediately respond to request for comment about the shooting.