An Egyptian-Led "Conscience Convoy" to Rafah

Journalists and activists from around the world are gathering in Cairo before heading to the only border crossing into Gaza not controlled by Israel

The brutal genocide against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip continues unabated after five weeks. The majority of the enclave’s hospitals have been rendered inoperational through targeted airstrikes on medical infrastructure or because fuel and power supplies have run out, putting at risk the tens of thousands who have been injured in the last month, the hundreds of thousands seeking shelter in medical installations and healthcare workers. 

It is in this context, that the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate (EJS) has called on “the free people of the world” to join its “Global Conscience Convoy” aiming to apply pressure to open the Rafah Crossing — the Gaza Strip’s lifeline — to allow all forms of humanitarian aid — such as food, water, medication and fuel — to enter sustainably, and for an unconditional exit for the critically wounded.

The convoy is also demanding that medical, relief, humanitarian and press crews enter Gaza, showing all forms of support to the Palestinian people in standing against the Israeli expulsion plans.

Speaking last week at a press conference in Cairo. Khaled Elbalshy the chief of the EJS said, “The Palestinian people of Gaza are not only facing the deadly arsenal of the Israeli military but are also being denied the most basic necessities of life, including water, food, medicine, and fuel, as a result of the brutal siege imposed by this modern-day Nazi war machine, this systematic extermination is aimed at displacing the Palestinians from their land and extinguishing their cause. It is a crime against humanity that will forever stain the conscience of the world.”

Elbalshy added, “Every minute that this siege continues is a call to the world’s conscience to wake up, to recognize the extent of this crime, and to take action. The world‘s decision makers must pay the price for their complicity in the suffering of children under the brutal bombardment of the occupation army. This calls for us to gather, as soon as possible, in a convoy to ensure all that calls for it.”

The syndicate’s convoy aims to attract journalists, active forces of freedom and humanity around the world, medical teams, the international relief organizations, and anyone willing to help alleviate the suffering of the Palestinians, according to Elbalshy. 

Hundreds of journalists and activists from across the world have already begun to arrive to Cairo in preparation for the convoy which is set to depart between Nov. 17 and 24.

The World Has Failed Gaza

Since the Hamas attack on Oct. 7, world leaders have failed to save the Palestinian people from the genocidal war Israel is waging against Gaza. No one, despite all the pleas, has been able to provide the essential aid its population needs to survive or the necessary fuel to keep the hospitals running. 

Hospitals receive hundreds of killed and wounded people every day. So far, the toll has reached has surpassed 11,000 dead, of whom more than 4,500 are children; 3,027 women and 678 elderly.

Palestinian Minister of Health Dr. Mai Al-Kaila highlighted the Israeli military’s deliberate targeting of hospitals, leaving patients, including children and adults on dialysis, to die without receiving essential treatments.

Mai Al-Kaila, Palestinian health minister, in 2015. Photo: Progetto Press / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0.

The minister confirmed the deaths of 12 patients, including two newborns, at Al-Shifa Medical Complex due to the lack of electricity and medical supplies, as of last Sunday.

She expressed grave concern for the fate of 3,000 oncology patients who were forced to leave Al-Rantisi and Al-Turki hospitals, leaving them without access to life-saving care.

Dr. Al-Kaila emphasized the risks faced by pregnant women and those with high-risk pregnancies, as they are unable to find adequate medical support in Gaza.

She described the harrowing reality of wounded and sick individuals struggling to reach Al-Shifa Medical Complex, often losing their lives due to delayed treatment or lack of necessary medications.

Photo: Gringer Country Borders: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2009, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0.

She said that medical staff at Al-Shifa Hospital [now invaded by Israeli soldiers] are also under constant threat from Israeli drones, preventing them from effectively performing their duties and moving between departments.

She further outlined the alarming situation of 100 bodies of deceased individuals decomposing in the hospital courtyard, posing a serious health risk due to the inability of medical teams to bury them.

Dr. Al-Kaila emphasized the dire conditions within the hospital, with patients suffering further injuries due to the Israeli attacks on the medical complex, damaging water wells, oxygen stations, the complex’s gate, and other essential facilities.

She highlighted the lack of food, water and blood reserves for the wounded, sick and medical teams, exacerbating their already dire circumstances.

Dr. Al-Kaila called for an urgent solution, urging the provision of electricity, medical supplies, medicines, and fuel to the medical complex or the safe evacuation of patients for treatment in Egypt, as Gaza’s hospitals are overwhelmed and unable to accommodate further casualties.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) announced on Nov. 12 that Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City has ceased all of its operations as a result of fuel shortages and the resulting power outage, amid a tight Israeli military siege. The hospital is grappling with severe shortages of medical supplies, food, and water.

In a press statement, PRCS expressed its deep concern about the dire humanitarian conditions inside the hospital, saying its medical teams are making maximum efforts to provide medical care to patients and the wounded even through traditional means.  

The statement held the international community and all countries signatory to the Fourth Geneva Convention accountable for the total collapse of the health system and the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, especially in the northern region of the enclave.

On Saturday, the Islamic-Arab summit in Saudi Arabia called for an immediate end to military operations in Gaza, rejecting Israel’s justification of its actions against Palestinians as self-defense and urged the International Criminal Court to investigate “war crimes and crimes against humanity that Israel is committing” in the Palestinian territories, according to a final communique.

The summit also demanded an end to the siege of Gaza, access for humanitarian aid, and a halt to the sale of arms to Israel.

Gaza’s border authority reopened the Rafah crossing — located on Gaza’s 7.5-mile border with Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula — into Egypt on Nov. 12, for foreign passport holders and dependents.

The Rafah border crossing with Egypt has become increasingly important as the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues. It is the only Gaza crossing not controlled by Israel and is currently the only way in and out of the enclave. Humanitarian groups are calling for the crossing to be opened more frequently to allow aid to reach Gaza’s 2 million residents.

In the past, Rafah was primarily used by Palestinians traveling to Egypt for medical care or personal reasons.

However, with all other borders closed due to the conflict, it has now become the sole entry point for humanitarian aid. The process of crossing Rafah has always been difficult for Palestinians, who must register with local authorities’ weeks in advance and can be denied entry without explanation.

With every passing minute, the Palestinian people pay an unimaginable price for defending their land, their freedom and their right to their free state, as they have for more than 75 years.

Main photo: Rafah Border crossing in 2012 © Gigi Ibrahim / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0.

Source: Consortium News.

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