Convoy of medical aid arrives to Gaza after a two-year suspension
Speaking to The New Arab, Ghazi Hamad, the undersecretary of the Hamas-run Ministry of Social Development, said that the medical convoy came after two years of suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He added that the convoy aims to alleviate part of the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza due to the "illegal" Israeli blockade.
Called the "41 Miles of Smile," the aid campaign includes medical equipment, medicines, devices, and aid for people with disabilities, according to Hamad.
For over 16 years, Israel imposed a land, air, and sea blockade on the coastal enclave after the Islamic Hamas movement, which won the legislative elections in 2006, seized the territory.
Since then, Israeli authorities denied entry into Gaza of various essential goods under the pretext that they have "dual" [civilian and military] capabilities; these include goods like building materials, specific medical equipment and agricultural tools.
To break the Israeli blockade on the medical sector, pro-Palestinian Arab and foreign activists launched a medical aid convoy in 2009 to deliver needed healthcare supplies to the Gaza Strip.
For his part, the head of the campaign, Issam Youssef, said in a press conference after crossing into Gaza today that the campaign seeks to express solidarity with the besieged people of Gaza.
"Our message is: Gaza is not alone," Youssef said.
He added that "a six-member relief delegation plan to visit the impoverished coastal enclave soon."