The Rafah Opening: Egypt now insists Gaza humanitarian aid must go through Israeli territory

In-depth Report:


PETALING JAYA: In an unexpected turn of events, the Egyptian Government has imposed a condition that humanitarian aid cargo brought by the MV Spirit of Rachel Corrie must be transported through Israeli territory.

The ship’s mission leader Matthias Chang said Malaysian embassy officials in Cairo had informed them this was the condition set before the cargo could be discharged.

“We were told that the cargo has to be transported via Karem Shalom, at the Israeli border in Gaza with the permission of Israel,” he said in a statement Thursday.

Chang said the team had not been consulted in the negotiations.

“For the past 10 days, we were repeatedly assured by Egyptian Government that the cargo of PVC pipes would be transported via the Rafah Crossing,” he said.

He was referring to the Egyptian Foreign Ministry’s statement on April 28 that the Rafah Crossing would be permanently opened to enable humanitarian aid into Gaza.

The MV Spirit of Rachel Corrie is currently anchored out in deep sea in Egyptian waters.

Its water supply is running very low and the ship is requesting 10 tonnes of water or the crew will be forced to use sea water again.

“However, the spirit and morale of the entire team remain high, resolute and determined,” said Chang.

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