The Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported on Monday that despite the dire conditions in the Gaza Strip, the besieged people of Gaza have risen to the occasion to collect aid to support those so sorely affected by the recent earthquake in Haiti. Gazans were reported to have been gathering financial as well as material support to be sent to the distressed of Haiti.
Some of those making donations were reportedly relatives of those held in Israeli prisons: They were making an effort to aid people half a world away even though their capacity to support a family has been severely impeded by the incarceration of a loved one.
Multiple sources from Ma’an to Haaretz, on the other side of the completely shut-off Israeli border, quoted the head of the Committee to Break the Siege, Jamal al-Khudari, as saying,
people may be astonished at our ability to collect donations from our people [in Gaza]; we tell them that this is a humanitarian campaign and our people love life and peace…
We are here today supporting the victims of Haiti … we feel for them the most because we were exposed to our own earthquake during Israel’s war on Gaza.
All this has taken place despite the continued containment and humiliation of the people of Gaza, choked off from the rest of the international community by its considerably richer and more powerful neighbor. The contradictory nature of this situation was highlighted by Haaretz’s Akiva Eldar is an opinion piece he penned recently, pointing out Israel’s eager response to aid the people of Haiti but apparent inability to even acknowledge the plight of the innocents in Gaza.
There is no news yet on whether the Israeli blockade will affect the ability of those Gazans wishing to send aid abroad. But it will be interesting to see how this works out. This story has already started getting noticed by different media around the world. Since it was first published by Ma’an it was picked up (as noted above) by Haaretz in Israel– and also by the Euronews channel (based in Lyon, France), and the Los Angeles Times… Next up, the New York Times?