Viva Palestina’s aid convoy involving activities from 30 countries managed a massive delivery of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip today, with 140 vehicles, 400 activities and some 500 tons of medical and food aid entering through the Egypt border crossing.
The aid sailed to the El-Arish port in Egypt before being off-loaded and proceding through the land route. Israel has attacked previous aid groups whose ships attempted to dock directly, including a May incident in which aid workers on the Mavi Marmara were killed. Some of the survivors from that ship were reportedly involved in today’s crossing.
Israeli military officials had claimed they were “ready” for the ship but made no effort to stop it from docking in Egypt. So far the only comment since the delivery was a public expression of “regret” from an Israeli Ambassador, who condemned the “so-called human rights groups” that delivered the aid.
Israel has been under growing pressure regarding the blockade, but despite having relaxed restrictions on certain food items like coriander has continued to ban a large number of badly needed goods, and has strictly limited supplies of others. Today’s delivery may have been small in the grand scheme of things, but the fact that the group was able to make the delivery without facing military reprisals is surely a good sign, and may enable more ambitious deliveries in the future.