[News] Convoy carrying 500 wheelchairs coming to Gaza for the newly disabled

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Apr 14 11:57:55 EDT 2009

Convoy carrying 500 wheelchairs coming to Gaza for the newly disabled

14.04.09 - 10:36

Brussels / PNN - The European Campaign to Break 
the Siege on Gaza is launching a new aid convoy.

One of many, this project is for the benefit of 
residents of the Gaza Strip who are newly traumatized by physical disabilities.

The direct cause is the recent major Israeli 
attacks that left some 1,400 Palestinians dead and approximately 5,500 injured.

The convoy, consisting of hundreds of trucks, 
contains five hundred wheelchairs and specialized 
medical equipment for people with special needs, 
as well as programs for computers for the newly 
visually impaired and blind, and for the hearing impaired.

The convoy will be accompanied by dozens of 
European parliamentarians, justice activists and 
human rights advocates. At the beginning of next 
month it will set sail from Italy in the 
direction of the Egyptian port of Alexandria, and 
the European embassies in Cairo will coordinate 
with the relevant authorities to facilitate the 
passage of the convoy by road from Alexandria to the Rafah crossing.

Reminded of the disabled

The head of the European Commission, Dr. Arafat 
Mahdi, says, "The recent war has exacerbated the 
suffering of the Palestinian people of Gaza where 
there were already thousands of martyrs and tens 
of thousands injured. There are countless tragic 
stories, homes destroyed and thousands of 
displaced people who cannot find shelter in their 
territory due to a war of occupation."

In a past interview with IRIN in Brussels Dr. 
Mahdi has said that there are multiple 
disabilities such as paralysis or loss of 
movement, impaired eyesight or hearing in whole 
or in part, and amputation of arms that make the 
lives of those affected very difficult and 
complex; these are a consequence of the unjust 
embargo on them for the last three years. Medical 
equipment was banned from entering while medical 
patients were forbidden from leaving.

The European aid convoy will also facilitate the 
provision of basic medical supplies to aid the 
health sector in Gaza, as well as educational 
programs and means for people with special needs.

In the past, one of the aims of the campaign was 
also to draw attention to the suffering of the 
Palestinians and the continuing siege, and to 
urge the Arab and Islamic governments to take 
concrete positions to end the suffering and show 
solidarity with the besieged, and to notify the world to their just cause.

Unfortunately, in the past there has been a 
dismal absence in attention paid to the blockade 
and complete closure which left the Strip without 
electricity or bread for a month before the major attacks.
The consequences of the lack of Arab and 
international attention or follow-up, along with 
poor media coverage, have elongated "
conditions in all walks of life and inflicting 
heavy losses in all vital sectors, in addition to 
causing the death of hundreds of patients due to 
lack of necessary treatment and the collapse of 
the health sector." Several hundred people died 
before the major attacks awaiting Israeli 
permission to leave the Strip for outside medical attention.

Dr. Mahdi pointed to the constant need to recall 
that the unjust embargo had "led to the paralysis 
of most economic sectors due to the ban on the 
introduction of raw materials and spare parts, 
construction materials, which led to the collapse 
of the infrastructure of water and sanitation systems, roads and electricity."

Unemployment and poverty

It is no secret that there are tens of thousands 
of unemployed and more than a million and a half 
in the sector are deprived of access to basic and 
humanitarian needs due to the continued closure 
of crossings, including the Rafah crossing, the 
shelling of people and goods and the prevention 
of the supply of food and fuel supplies, spare parts and medical supplies.

Past calls for the lifting of the embargo have 
not compared to the level of suffering being 
experienced by the Palestinians despite many 
attempts aimed at raising the issue in the Arab and international arenas.

It is noteworthy that the European campaign to 
break the blockade and contribute in a variety of 
ways raises the issue on the official and popular 
levels to pressure European governments to take a 
firm stand against the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip.

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