Iranian aid ship to break Israeli siege

Iran is preparing to send an aid ship to the Gaza Strip on Saturday in the wake of the Israeli-imposed blockade, the Iranian Red Crescent says.

“The ship will carry medicine and foodstuffs including rice, flour, sugar as well as six tons of medicine for the impoverished population of Gaza,” said Hamed Taheri Jebelli spokesman of Iran’s Red Crescent Society (IRCS) on Thursday.

Jebelli noted that a medical team and a group of reporters will travel to the coastal area on board the ship.

Al-Alam Satellite TV aired video of the ship as well as trucks loaded with aid.

Tel Aviv has imposed a siege on the tiny coastal region ever since the democratically-elected Palestinian government, Hamas, took control of the coastal area in mid-June 2007. Palestinians had voted overwhelmingly in favor of the Islamic movement in the 2006 parliamentary elections.

The Islamic movement does not recognize Israel as a legitimate state.

The Israeli siege has inflicted a humanitarian crisis in the already impoverished Strip, turning it to an ‘open prison’ and putting lives of almost 1.5 million residents at stake.

Gaza residents are suffering from the shortage of basic supplies including food and medicine.

The UN Human Rights Council has declared Israeli policies against the Palestinians and the blockade of the Gaza Strip to be “crime(s) against humanity.”

The UN has so far passed some 65 resolutions in condemnation of Israeli actions against Palestinians. However, the veto powers, particularly the US, have stonewalled the resolutions on at least 42 occasions.

Earlier, IRCS had announced that it would deliver 100’000 dollars worth of emergency aid to the Gaza strip.