Egypt yesterday gave permission for the Asia to Gaza Caravan — or Asia1 — to pass through Egypt to Gaza, according to Khaled Abdel Megid, a member of the Palestinian National Congress.
He said the Egyptian embassy in Damascus informed the convoy of the permit that allows only 120 activists entry to Egypt and then Gaza. It denied entry to 46 activists from Iran and Jordan.
Egypt will not allow 10 generators donated by the Iranians to enter to the besieged Gaza Strip. This will decrease the size of the humanitarian aid convoy to below 300 tons, which will be limited to food and medical aid in addition to toys, according to Abdel-Meguid.
The Asia to Gaza Caravan consists of approximately 160 people from more than 15 countries, including Iran, India, Japan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Malaysia, New Zealand and Kuwait. It was scheduled to reach Gaza by 27 December, in time for the second anniversary of Israel's 22-day war on the Strip that started on 28 December 2008.
Approximately 1,400 Palestinians were killed and 5,000 injured or maimed in the three-week war. Half of Gaza's infrastructure was destroyed and remains unrepaired as a result of Israel's siege, which includes a ban on the entry of building materials into the Strip.
The convoy has travelled 7000 kilometres but has been stuck in Latikia, in Syria, since last week awaiting Egyptian permission to enter Gaza through Al-Arish port.
It is carrying $1 million worth of aid supplies, including medicine, ambulances and solar generators for electricity.