Palestinians in Gaza stage sit-in at Egypt border

Palestinians in Gaza stage sit-in at Egypt border
Sat Dec 7, 2013 16:55:26

Palestinian patients and physicians in the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip have joined in a sit-in outside the Egyptian gate of Rafah crossing, demanding immediate opening of the vital supply passage to put an end to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the besieged territory.

Children released balloons during the sit-in, organized by National Committee to Lift the Siege on Thursday, containing hundreds of letters to the Egyptian authorities calling for opening Rafah crossing and ending the patients' suffering in Gaza Strip.

For his part, Dr. Ashraf Qudra spokesman for the Health Ministry called on the international community to pressure the Israeli occupation authority to lift its illegal siege on Gaza.

He called on Egypt to open the Rafah crossing permanently to allow the entry of the needed medications and basic humanitarian supplies. He also urged Arabs, Muslims and the world's free people to support the Palestinian people's steadfastness in Gaza.

Qudra further called on the international and humanitarian organizations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the World Health Organization, to provide the impoverished Strip with badly needed medication and fuel in light of the acute shortage of basic materials.

The closure of Rafah crossing deprived Gaza's patients of 30% of essential medicines offered by humanitarian relief convoys which were allowed to enter via Rafah crossing with Egyptian official approval, he said.

He pointed out that 145 types of medicine and 460 kinds of medical disposables have run out due to the continued closure of Rafah crossing.

He also emphasized that hundreds of patients have been deprived of receiving treatment in Egyptian hospitals due to Egyptian tight restrictions on Rafah crossing, increasing their daily suffering.

The participants raised Egyptian and Palestinian flags, and banners calling on Egypt to open the Rafah crossing and save hundreds of patients' life.

In a related development, Egypt declared its intention to reopen the Rafah border crossing for three days as of Sunday, Border Crossings Administration said on Friday.

Rafah crossing has been partially open since early July following the overthrow of Egypt's first democratically-elected President Mohamed Morsi, leaving thousands of Gazan patients and students stranded on the Palestinian side of the border.

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