Friday, 7 December 2012

120 Malaysian volunteers enter Gaza Strip with RM1.8mil in aid

Some 120 Malaysians have entered the Gaza Strip as members of the Aman Palestin Solidarity Mission 2012 to deliver donations worth RM1.8mil from Malaysians of all walks of life.

These volunteers, among them professionals, artistes and students, entered the Gaza Strip at 5.40 pm local time (11.40 pm Malaysian time) Thursday after travelling six hours by bus from Cairo and passing through the Suez Canal, Ismailliya, Sinai City and Arish.

Awang Sufian Awang Piut, chief executive officer of Aman Palestin, an initiative to assist Palestinians through donations and humanitarian projects, said the long trip was worth it as the team brought donations in various forms, including medicine and the newly planned micro-credit opportunities, a mechanism for Gazans to rebuild their lives.

"We are bringing in RM120,000 (about US$40,000) of medicine, RM315,000 (US$105,000) for poor families, and RM300,000 (US$100,000) for orphans in Gaza. This is certainly not enough; we hope to do more," he told Bernama at the Rafah Crossing earlier in the day.

Awang Sufian said the RM900,000 (US$300,000) micro-credit assistance for farmers and fishermen would help them rebuild their businesses which were heavily affected by the recent Israeli military attacks.

"A signing ceremony with the Al-Quds Bank, the bank to administer the micro-credit opportunities, will take place," he said.

Upon reaching Gaza, the Aman Palestin team members were welcomed by government officials headed by Chief of Freedom Blockade Abu Usama Kurd.

Abu Usama said delegations from Malaysia, especially NGOs, were becoming a common sight in Gaza and Gazans were highly appreciative of the undying efforts to assist the Palestinian cause.

"Gaza has now become the centre of attraction for the Islamic world and other countries. One of the most influential countries in the rebuilding of this strip is Malaysia, a country which has assisted us a lot in our trying times," he said at a welcoming ceremony at the Gaza Immigration Centre.

He said it was hoped that Gaza could be a centre to bring unity among nations, especially Islamic countries, and this would provide the necessary spirit to unite the Palestinians.

"This convoy, the biggest so far from Malaysia, will spur us further to continue the struggle. This trip of yours indicates a winning sentiment to all Gazans; thanks to all of you," he said.

The six-day trip of the Aman Palestin team is aimed at stating the solidarity and support of Malaysians for victims of the recent Israeli military attacks.

The team will visit hospitals, victims and orphans to find out their needs.

Meanwhile, Aman Palestin's Palestinian Fund icon Farrah Adeeba Mohd Asyraf said the move to bring a large group was good to create awareness of Gaza, one of the most densely populated areas in the world, with a population of 1.7 million.

"I've been here twice and I know how much it has impacted me personally," she said, adding that the first-timers here would be excited to do something after witnessing what was happening.

"This trip will spur them to continue to support the Palestinian cause when they are back home," she said.

Aman Palestin, the first Malaysian-initiated organisation in the Gaza Strip, started its charitable activities in 2006, primarily implementing projects to improve medical services and the conditions of the refugees.


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