Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hamas refuses to let in medical aid

Free Gaza movement is getting ready to launch another ship in quest of humanitarian crisis to resolve. Here is what they say on their website:

The medical supply list includes bandages, splints and rubber gloves, items that any medical community should have access to, but, because of Israel's policies of collective punishment, these supplies are not available.

However, AFP reports:

"A security official said that an Egyptian plane with 50 doctors on board as well as medical supplies had arrived in nearby El-Arish. Two Qatari aircraft carrying 50 tonnes of medical supplies were waiting at the same airport.

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has also ordered three planeloads of medical aid to the Gaza Strip via Egypt, MENA said, and offered to airlift the wounded.

"The Rafah border crossing was opened by the Egyptians yesterday, but no Hamas people showed up" on the other side, an Israeli military spokesman said."

So it would appear that there is no shortage of medical supplies wanting to get into Gaza via the Egyptian border crossing, yet no medical supplies are making their way into Gaza. How so?

Here is a BBC report:

Egypt says the Hamas militant group, which controls Gaza, is preventing hundreds of wounded Palestinians from leaving for treatment in Egypt.

Cairo says dozens of empty ambulances are at the Rafah crossing - the only one to Gaza which avoids Israel. [-]

Hamas officials say 271 Palestinians have been killed and 600 wounded since Israel began its aerial assault on the Gaza Strip on Saturday, but none of the injured have yet left via Rafah.

[-] There are also up to 40 ambulances waiting to go into Gaza to bring out the most seriously wounded. Tonnes of medical supplies have arrived at the nearby airport of El-Arish.

But the Egyptian authorities say that, at the moment, they have no-one to treat.

Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said the wounded were "barred from crossing" and he blamed "those in control of Gaza" for putting the lives of the injured at risk.

As usual, Hamas is more concerned with preserving Gaza's public image as a people in deep humanitarian crisis, with wounded Palestinians prevented from being treated because of shortage of medical supplies. It would seem that only supplies coming into Gaza from the Israeli side will do for Hamas. The tonnes of medical supplies waiting to enter Gaza through the Egyptian border crossing are held up.

Of course the purpose of such cynical manipulations is clear: the humanitarian crisis in Gaza must be kept at its most pity-extracting level, and if possible, augmented at all cost, even if the injured will pay the price.

Hamas propaganda machine at full swing.

Another blogger's roundup of reactions, if you feel like a chuckle.. (a sad chuckle).

...So the Guardian this evening has filled the upper left column with a picture from Gaza, and then 14 separate links. Only beneath them all is the forlorn 15th link: Afghan suicide bomb kills 14 children.

...Juan Cole sides with the frenzied reports of al-Jezeera, always more reliable in his opinion than, say, the New York Times. His thesis: Israel is committing war crimes. Israel is committing war crimes. Israel is committing war crimes. Do I make myself clear?


Update: Hamas denies
the allegation:

Abbas, who held talks in Cairo on Sunday with Mubarak and Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said Hamas was responsible for the violence because it had ignored his request to renew the cease-fire, which expired 10 days ago.[-]

Cairo, [Gheit] said, offered to take scores of wounded Palestinians, but Hamas banned them from travelling through the Rafah border crossing.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum denied the allegation, claiming that many of the wounded rejected an Egyptian offer to receive medical treatment in Cairo in protest against Cairo's "support" for the IDF operation. He accused the Egyptians of taking part in the "siege" on the Gaza Strip by refusing to reopen the Rafah crossing.

A plane carrying some 50 Egyptian physicians arrived in el-Arish on Sunday as part of Cairo's efforts to help the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The physicians are hoping to enter the Strip to treat hundreds of wounded Palestinians.


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