27 August 2014
South African humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers is en route to Gaza with 16 tons of emergency medical supplies valued at R15-million.
The organisation was last week granted entry into Gaza with medical teams, equipment and ambulances.
According to Gift of the Givers founder and director Imtiaz Sooliman, the medical teams departed Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport on Tuesday night to Egypt, where they will connect to Gaza.
“Items donated by American NGOs to Gift of the Givers will also be released from Cairo customs into our possession [on Wednesday]. The team will enter Rafah in the afternoon and the supplies will follow a day later,” Sooliman said.
Sooliman thanked the Department of International Relations and Cooperation for securing permission from the Egyptian government for Gift of the Givers teams and supplies to cross the Rafah border into Gaza.
Gift of the Givers has delivered R4-million worth of supplies inside Gaza since 8 July.
The United Nation estimates that the latest wave of violence, which began eight weeks ago, has killed 2 101 Palestinians and 67 Israelis, in addition to forcing 475 000 Palestinians to seek refuge at UN facilities inside Gaza.
Ceasefire for Gaza
On Tuesday, an open-ended ceasefire for Gaza, brokered under Egyptian auspices, came into effect. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon made the announcement, which he hopes will lead to a political process aimed at achieving a durable peace.
“A brighter future for Gaza and for Israel depends on a sustainable ceasefire. It is up to the parties to live up to this responsibility,” a UN statement read. “After 50 days of profound human suffering and devastating physical destruction, any violations of the ceasefire would be utterly irresponsible.”
Ban noted that any peace effort that did not tackle the root causes of the crisis would do little more than set the stage for the next cycle of violence. He called for, among others, an end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza and the addressing of Israel’s legitimate security concerns.
The secretary-general said the two-State solution was the only viable option. Ban urged both parties to return to meaningful negotiations towards a final status agreement that addressed all core issues and ended the 47-year occupation.