Scot with van of medicine told to “take his van and return to Scotland”

**image: Carlos Latuff
After 24 days at the Rafah crossing, with 1.5 tons of urgently needed medicine, which doctors in Gaza are awaiting expectantly, K and Linda Willis have exhausted all options for delivering the supplies. Every avenue has been explored, every procedure followed. Tremendous public support in the UK, including MSPs and the First Minister himself, Alex Salmond, has in the end still not persuaded Egyptian authorities to allow humanitarian supplies to pass through their border with Gaza.” />

Since the last update, in which I reiterated that K had not been given any option to cross into Gaza, through any crossing, no progress has been made. Although K and Linda Willis from the beginning acquiesed to Egyptian authorities’ requests to fill out numerous forms, and although the van with medicines was inspected upon arrival in Egypt at the Nuweiba border, and although K has since corresponded with Palestinian Authority representatives in Egypt, no permission of any sort has been given for the medicine to be delivered to Gaza.

Approximately one week ago, following a press conference in Cairo which was covered by Aljazeera Live, K discussed the possibility of facilitating transport of the medicines and medical supplies with the help of the Egyptian Red Crescent. He duly showed all of the relevant papers to Red Crescent members, with Adil Abu Tamer, a RC member taking responsibility for coordinating with Israeli security officials. At this time, K was again looking into the possibility of transporting the medicines through Kerem Abu Salem. While K prefers to deliver the medicine through the Rafah crossing with Egypt, and not through an Israeli-controlled crossing, he would accept any offer to deliver his cargo. The point of the journey was two-fold: to deliver the medicine and to highlight the fact that Gaza is locked tightly under siege. However, both K and Willis agree that the urgency of delivering the medicine supercedes political statements, and so would accept to deliver the medicine via Kerem Abu Salem.

Yet, this has not been a possibility, with both Egyptian and Israeli authorities vetoing the idea. Egyptian authorities essentially told K that he would never leave through the Kerem Abu Salem crossing because the Egyptian authorities would not give him permission. K learned Tuesday at noon that the Israeli security authorities have declared his van “will never go through Kerem Abu Salem.” Further, Israeli authorities conveyed, via the PA representative, that K should “take his van and return to Scotland.”

Sadly, K and Willis’ initial motivation to bring the medicine to the Rafah crossing –the fact that Gaza is under siege and has been locked down for 14 months –has been proven true.

It is astonishing that a government which ostensibly has power over its own borders cannot see the humanitarian value of these medicines and cannot facilitate delivery of the cargo. It makes one more than question Egypt’s allegiance to Israel. It makes one believe it.


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