An Egyptian-Led ‘Conscience Convoy’ to Rafah

Journalists and activists from around the world are gathering in Cairo before heading to the only border crossing into Gaza not controlled by Israel, reports Mahmoud Hashem.

Rafah Border crossing in 2012. (Gigi Ibrahim, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0)

By Mahmoud Hashem
Peoples Dispatch

The brutal genocide against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip continues unabated after five weeks. The majority of the enclave’s hospitals have been rendered inoperational through targeted airstrikes on medical infrastructure or because fuel and power supplies have run out, putting at risk the tens of thousands who have been injured in the last month, the hundreds of thousands seeking shelter in medical installations and healthcare workers. 

It is in this context, that the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate (EJS) has called on “the free people of the world” to join its “Global Conscience Convoy” aiming to apply pressure to open the Rafah Crossing — the Gaza Strip’s lifeline — to allow all forms of humanitarian aid — such as food, water, medication and fuel — to enter sustainably, and for an unconditional exit for the critically wounded.

The convoy is also demanding that medical, relief, humanitarian and press crews enter Gaza, showing all forms of support to the Palestinian people in standing against the Israeli expulsion plans.

Speaking last week at a press conference in Cairo. Khaled Elbalshy the chief of the EJS said, 

“The Palestinian people of Gaza are not only facing the deadly arsenal of the Israeli military but are also being denied the most basic necessities of life, including water, food, medicine, and fuel, as a result of the brutal siege imposed by this modern-day Nazi war machine, this systematic extermination is aimed at displacing the Palestinians from their land and extinguishing their cause. It is a crime against humanity that will forever stain the conscience of the world.”

Elbalshy added,

“Every minute that this siege continues is a call to the world’s conscience to wake up, to recognize the extent of this crime, and to take action. The world‘s decision makers must pay the price for their complicity in the suffering of children under the brutal bombardment of the occupation army. This calls for us to gather, as soon as possible, in a convoy to ensure all that calls for it.”

The syndicate’s convoy aims to attract journalists, active forces of freedom and humanity around the world, medical teams, the international relief organizations, and anyone willing to help alleviate the suffering of the Palestinians, according to Elbalshy. 

Hundreds of journalists and activists from across the world have already begun to arrive to Cairo in preparation for the convoy which is set to depart between Nov. 17 and 24.

The World Has Failed Gaza

Since the Hamas attack on Oct. 7, world leaders have failed to save the Palestinian people from the genocidal war Israel is waging against Gaza. No one, despite all the pleas, has been able to provide the essential aid its population needs to survive or the necessary fuel to keep the hospitals running. 

Hospitals receive hundreds of killed and wounded people every day. So far, the toll has reached has surpassed 11,000 dead, of whom more than 4,500 are children; 3,027 women and 678 elderly.

Palestinian Minister of Health Dr. Mai Al-Kaila highlighted the Israeli military’s deliberate targeting of hospitals, leaving patients, including children and adults on dialysis, to die without receiving essential treatments.

Mai Al-Kaila, Palestinian health minister, in 2015. (Progetto Press, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 3.0)

The minister confirmed the deaths of 12 patients, including two newborns, at Al-Shifa Medical Complex due to the lack of electricity and medical supplies, as of last Sunday.

She expressed grave concern for the fate of 3,000 oncology patients who were forced to leave Al-Rantisi and Al-Turki hospitals, leaving them without access to life-saving care.

Dr. Al-Kaila emphasized the risks faced by pregnant women and those with high-risk pregnancies, as they are unable to find adequate medical support in Gaza.

She described the harrowing reality of wounded and sick individuals struggling to reach Al-Shifa Medical Complex, often losing their lives due to delayed treatment or lack of necessary medications.

(Gringer, Country Borders: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2009, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

She said that medical staff at Al-Shifa Hospital [now invaded by Israeli soldiers] are also under constant threat from Israeli drones, preventing them from effectively performing their duties and moving between departments.

She further outlined the alarming situation of 100 bodies of deceased individuals decomposing in the hospital courtyard, posing a serious health risk due to the inability of medical teams to bury them.

Dr. Al-Kaila emphasized the dire conditions within the hospital, with patients suffering further injuries due to the Israeli attacks on the medical complex, damaging water wells, oxygen stations, the complex’s gate, and other essential facilities.

[Related: Israeli Deceit & the Battle of Shifa Hospital]

She highlighted the lack of food, water and blood reserves for the wounded, sick and medical teams, exacerbating their already dire circumstances.

Dr. Al-Kaila called for an urgent solution, urging the provision of electricity, medical supplies, medicines, and fuel to the medical complex or the safe evacuation of patients for treatment in Egypt, as Gaza’s hospitals are overwhelmed and unable to accommodate further casualties.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) announced on Nov. 12 that Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City has ceased all of its operations as a result of fuel shortages and the resulting power outage, amid a tight Israeli military siege. The hospital is grappling with severe shortages of medical supplies, food, and water.

In a press statement, PRCS expressed its deep concern about the dire humanitarian conditions inside the hospital, saying its medical teams are making maximum efforts to provide medical care to patients and the wounded even through traditional means.  

The statement held the international community and all countries signatory to the Fourth Geneva Convention accountable for the total collapse of the health system and the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, especially in the northern region of the enclave.

On Saturday, the Islamic-Arab summit in Saudi Arabia called for an immediate end to military operations in Gaza, rejecting Israel’s justification of its actions against Palestinians as self-defense and urged the International Criminal Court to investigate “war crimes and crimes against humanity that Israel is committing” in the Palestinian territories, according to a final communique.

The summit also demanded an end to the siege of Gaza, access for humanitarian aid, and a halt to the sale of arms to Israel.

[Related: AS’AD AbuKHALIL: Gulf Arab Regimes’ Fake Outrage Over Gaza]

Gaza’s border authority reopened the Rafah crossing — located on Gaza’s 7.5-mile border with Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula — into Egypt on Nov. 12, for foreign passport holders and dependents.

The Rafah border crossing with Egypt has become increasingly important as the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues. It is the only Gaza crossing not controlled by Israel and is currently the only way in and out of the enclave. Humanitarian groups are calling for the crossing to be opened more frequently to allow aid to reach Gaza’s 2 million residents.

In the past, Rafah was primarily used by Palestinians traveling to Egypt for medical care or personal reasons.

However, with all other borders closed due to the conflict, it has now become the sole entry point for humanitarian aid. The process of crossing Rafah has always been difficult for Palestinians, who must register with local authorities’ weeks in advance and can be denied entry without explanation.

With every passing minute, the Palestinian people pay an unimaginable price for defending their land, their freedom and their right to their free state, as they have for more than 75 years.

Mahmoud Hashem is a correspondent for Peoples Dispatch

This article is from  Peoples Dispatch.  

Views expressed in this article may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

11 comments for “An Egyptian-Led ‘Conscience Convoy’ to Rafah

  1. CaseyG
    November 17, 2023 at 15:23

    Yes, Susan: America is sadly showing its true colors for what is happening to the Palestinians. : the land theft and murders began in 1948—-and amazingly are still going on.

    At the same time it appears that American elected officials are getting dumb, and even dumber. We need a new President in America—-but it seems none is to be found. I suggests, Biden Blinken and Nuland- be gone with the wind–and also the Trump group— making their own whirlwind of death- and just stop any money going into Israel at all.

    Welcome Palestinians from everywhere and then take over israel as a convenient test bomb range. That seems fair after so many years of American killing off its own citizens. We need the money for America now, or
    it too, like so many in world history, will just self implode and like a world storm of hate — wipe any real history from the place. : (

  2. Susan Leslie
    November 17, 2023 at 06:35

    I’m glad that the USA and Israel are finally showing their true colors on the world stage and that at least some of humanity are finally waking up to the reality! After the atrocity in Gaza, I doubt things will ever be the same. Thank you to the ‘Conscience Convoy’, you are representing those of us who cannot be there in person but are there in spirit!!

  3. BJG
    November 16, 2023 at 21:52

    I am not nor have I ever been an advocate of guns, violence and certainly war! However in this case I see no alternative! None! Watching the video’s of the doctors in the hospitals unable to save infants because they don’t have the simplest of means is the worst thing I have ever seen in my 65+ years of life! It haunts me day and night! The people behind this are not human and therefore this is no other alternative but to put an end to it once and for all! Unfortunately I am a US citizen and we are without doubt the worst Country in the world! Even Russia made sure they rescued all the children in Ukraine!

    My question to all is this and will it work? I have read everything since this nightmare began! Few if any realize the casualties on October 7th were not nearly as enormous as claimed as it was the IDF who actually murdered the most Israel’s! I have read that Iran doesn’t want to get involved but Turkey has amassed over 2 million soldiers and has one of the most sophisticated armaments!

    What would happen if Israel was given 10 days to evacuate the entire State – and then, wipe it off the map? No killings just destroying the entire land once and for all! Turkey certainly has the capability! They would be warned if there were any retaliation Iran – RUSSIA and China would finish the job including attacking the US! Preferably Washington DC! The US does not have the army to confront the middle east along with Russia and China! There is no better time than now while everything is depleted including NATO! Wouldn’t we finally reach world peace if the US and Israel were held accountable once and for all? The US keeps saying they need Israel to maintain their control of the middle east! Therefore this seems as the most logical solution. Remove Israel once and for all!

  4. Lois Gagnon
    November 16, 2023 at 18:52

    The US, its vassal states and Israel have sealed their fate. They have proven to the world their complete disregard for human rights, the rule of law and any semblance of human decency. These countries are ruled by monsters who need to be marched before the ICC, tried and convicted of genocide against the Palestinian people. That SHOULD be for starters. The US in particular has committed atrocities all over the world since WWll it needs to answer for.

    If the ICC and the UN don’t have the intestinal fortitude to carry this out, dismantle them and convene an international body that will. The world can no longer wait for justice.

    • W. R. Knight
      November 17, 2023 at 11:25

      Sadly, neither the UN nor the ICC have any power of enforcement. They were both set up for show and to be exploited for political propaganda.

  5. Jim Thomas
    November 16, 2023 at 15:56

    As a U.S. citizen I wish to emphasize that the U.S. is an active participant in this ongoing genocide, providing the bombs used to murder the Palestinians, providing political cover for Israel as it commits war crimes, and failing to use the obvious tremendous leverage the U.S. has on Israel in order to put a stop to this slaughter of innocent civilians. Like many others in this Country, I have heard the Israeli lies too many times. No, it is not true that Israel is “only” trying to kill the Hamas soldiers. Israel is murdering Palestinian civilians in furtherance of its 75 year long goal of removing them from their homeland in order that the Zionist thieves may steal the only part they have not already managed to steal. No decent person can support these crimes. By supporting this slaughter, my Country has, once again, as it has with its own multiple bouts of mass murder of innocent civilians (Vietnam, Central American, South America, Africa, Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and other places), made me ashamed to be a U.S. citizen.

  6. Joy Al-Sofi
    November 16, 2023 at 15:13

    It’s no only these people who should go to Gaza, but the religious leaders of the world. Towards that end I made a petition on calling on Pope Francis to go to Gaza.

    If you, or anyone, you know, thinks this might work, and would like to support it , please sign and share:


    • Blessthebeasts
      November 17, 2023 at 12:54

      I like that idea. I don’t know if he would actually go, bu he likes to virtue signal.

    • November 17, 2023 at 15:04

      I signed the petition.

      Whether for good or for bad, whether deservedly or undeservedly, religious leaders are imbued with moral authority. I think the Pope, given his position of having moral influence, would do a lot of good if he were to go to Gaza.

  7. Vera Gottlieb
    November 16, 2023 at 15:04

    Make the ZIONAZIS feel the same pain they have been inflicting on Palestinians since 1948.

    • Em
      November 17, 2023 at 13:32

      There you go, an eye for an eye, in perpetuity! An eye for an eye is NOT a felicitous slogan right now for ‘Stopping All War Immediately’!
      “When will (you) ever learn … ?
      Is it any wonder we, all around, in the so-called civilized West, have become blinded to the factual truths of ‘others’ who are not us?
      If we are incapable of differentiating the forest for the trees, how is it possible to have acuity enough to know the devil in the details of ‘Self’?
      Vive la France pour son hospitalité envers les Américains expatriés et « autres » dans le besoin.

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