A group of human rights activists participating in the Miles of Smiles aid convoy has arrived in the besieged Gaza Strip.
The convoy arrived in Gaza from Egypt through the southern border crossing of Rafah on Monday evening after about a one-week delay due to the situation in Egypt, a Press TV correspondent reported.
The convoy members are mainly Tunisians along with human rights activists from several other countries.
Fairouz Saeed, a Tunisian activist said, “I want to tell the people of Gaza that they are a great source of pride for us and they inspire the world with their resistance and their steadfastness despite all calamities.”
The convoy is scheduled to stay in Gaza for several days to assess the humanitarian situation, meet with Palestinian officials and show solidarity with the people in the coastal enclave.
“The aim of our visit is to help break the Israeli blockade and to get a firsthand look at the situation in the Gaza Strip. We also want to convey a message of solidarity to the Palestinian people who have suffered a lot in recent years due to the ongoing Israeli blockade,” said Mohammad Abbas, another Tunisian activist.
Residents still live in what is known to be the “world’s largest open-air prison” as Israel remains in full control of the airspace, territorial waters and border crossings of Gaza.
Since the December 2008-January 2009 war Israel imposed against Gaza, several convoys have successfully managed to break the Israeli blockade.
Hamas Minister of Social Affairs Ahmad al-Kord told Press TV that the convoys come to Gaza to show solidarity with its besieged people and to break the political and economic blockade.
“They also bring in badly needed aid and express sympathy with the Palestinians in Gaza… They do not want the Palestinians to feel that they are alone in facing the Zionist regime,” Kord added.
On June 19, 2011, a European aid convoy with 53 pro-Palestinian activists and about 30 tons of medical supplies also traveled to Gaza via the Rafah crossing.
Israel denies about 1.5 million people in Gaza their basic rights, including the freedom of movement and their rights to appropriate living conditions, work, health and education.