Algerian activists barred from taking medical supplies and humanitarian aid into Gaza

June 12, 2010

Egyptian authorities have barred a group of 16 Algerian activists carrying humanitarian aid into Gaza from crossing into the besieged strip, Algerian media reported.

“They have said that only the three parliamentarians could use the Rafah crossing and without taking with them any of the humanitarian aid,” the activists said. “We were shocked because up until that moment, the Egyptians have been helpful and made it easy for us to go through all routines and inspection points that had often made people wait for hours and even days. We understood that the Egyptians were keen on making it smooth for us, but were obviously wrong,” they said.

The delegation refused the Egyptian offer and said that all of its members would remain together, either inside or outside Gaza. The activists spent most of the day waiting at Arish, the Egyptian city near the border with Gaza.

“The Algerian embassy had secured all the permits and passes to take us into Gaza and we bought in Egypt and with the assistance of the Egyptian Red Crescent all the medical and humanitarian assistance that we pledged to take to the Palestinians in Gaza,” Nasreddine Chaklal, the head of the delegation, said. “We have bought medicine and equipment required by the Palestinians, and it is now our responsibility to make sure they are handed to the Palestinians,” he said.

The Algerian delegation said that it wanted to convey the message that Algerians truly cared about the Palestinians even though people are now paying special attention to the World Cup finals in South Africa.

“The Algerian team is in the cup finals and that of course generates a lot of attention. However, nothing is important enough to distract us from our Palestinian brothers and sisters. We simply cannot forget even for a second that Palestinians are dying from hunger and illnesses while the world chooses to turn its eyes away,” Chaklal said.   

The humanitarian aid will not end the huge suffering of the Palestinians, but will certainly have a positive effect on their morale especially that they should receive it only days after the Freedom flotilla tragedy, he said.

Last week, Chaklal said that the Egyptian embassy took four days to deliver the Rafah crossing permit to the Algerian activists.

The two countries last year were locked in a terrible standoff over a football match that decided the team that will represent the Arabs at the World Cup finals in South Africa.

Algerian media said that 32 Algerians were on board of the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla when it was attacked by the Israelis in a lethal raid on May 31. MP Mohammad Dhouibi, representing Ennahdha, was wounded in the attack and remained in Amman after his release to receive medical treatment.

Nine Turks, including one Turkish-American, activists were killed.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ordered the opening of the Rafah crossing after the Israeli deadly attack.


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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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