Three NZ Arab doctors joining Kia Ora Gaza humanitarian aid mission


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Asia Pacific Report

Three New Zealand doctors — two Palestinian and one Iraq-born — are planning to join the charity Kia Ora Gaza in its mission this month to provide humanitarian aid to the besieged enclave, reports 1News.

But reporter Simon Mercep says “they’re not completely sure whether they’ll reach the Gaza coast and step on dry land”.

Mercep asked Gaza-born Dr Wasfi Shahin how hopeful was he?

“He paused before smiling as he told 1News tonight: ‘Fifty percent. Not more’.

But Mercep said he remained determined.

Dr Shain said: “I hope I can reach there to see what I left 50 years ago.”

1News asked Faiez Idais, a Jordan-trained doctor, how dangerous he expected the mission to be.

‘We’ll be in danger’
“If they [the people of Gaza] are in danger, we’ll be in danger. It’s not a problem for us,” he said.

“They don’t have even water to drink. They don’t have food to eat.”

“I am a physician,” he added. “I can’t do anything from here.”

Dr Idais was born in Jerusalem and has never been to the Gaza Strip.

The third doctor, Iraqi-born Dr Adnan Al-Kenani, took a pragmatic approach, reports Mercep.

The three doctors off to Gaza
The three doctors off to Gaza . . . Dr Faiez Idais (from left), Dr Adnan Al-Kenani and Gaza-born Dr Wasfi Shahin (seated) . . . “If we get an opportunity, if we land there, we can do service.” Image: 1News screenshot APR

“If we get an opportunity, if we land there, we can do service on land,” he said. “It depends on the circumstances there. But we are purely a health organisation.”

The doctors will fly out of Auckland next week to join the Freedom Flotilla Coalition international humanitarian effort, which is assembling ships at the port of Istanbul in Turkiye.

A container vessel and one ship for volunteers is already there, and a third is expected to join soon.

Seven aid workers killed
Since the doctors were interviewed for the report last weekend, seven international charity workers were killed in a drone attack by Israeli forces in Gaza — six foreigners and a Palestinian.

This took the death toll of aid workers to at least 203 aid workers in Israel’s deadly six-month war on Gaza, according to the Aid Worker Security Database.

The killing has caused outrage around the world and the founder of the charity World Central Kitchen that employed the aid workers, Spanish American celebrity chef Jose Andres,  said they were “targeted systematically”.

This took the death toll of aid workers to 195 in Israel’s deadly six-month war on Gaza.

Dr Adnan Ali, a GP and surgeon from Auckland, and Kia Ora Gaza coordinator Roger Fowler
Dr Adnan Al-Kenani , a GP and surgeon from Auckland, and Kia Ora Gaza coordinator Roger Fowler speaking at a Palestine solidarity rally in Aotea Square last Sunday. Image: David Robie/APR

‘Catastrophic hunger’
Meanwhile, the Freedom Flotilla Coalition reports that it will be sailing in mid-April with several vessels carrying 5500 tons of humanitarian aid and hundreds of international human rights observers to challenge the ongoing illegal Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

“This is an emergency mission as the situation in Gaza is dire, with famine setting in in northern Gaza, and catastrophic hunger present throughout the Gaza Strip as the result of a deliberate policy by the Israeli government to starve the Palestinian people,” the coalition said in a statement.

“Time is critical as experts predict that hunger and disease could claim more lives than have been killed in the bombing.

“Getting humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza is urgent, but it is not sufficient. We must end Israel’s unlawful, deadly blockade as well as Israel’s overall control of Gaza.”

The statement added that “allowing Israel to control what and how much humanitarian aid can get to Palestinians in Gaza is like letting the fox manage the henhouse.”

Asia Pacific Report with 1News and Freedom Flotilla Coalition reporting.

The Majestic, one of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition ships
The Majestic, one of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition ships bound for Gaza. Image: 1News screenshot APR
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