GCC Countries Pledge ‘Urgent’ $100 Million Aid for Gaza 

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GCC Secretary-General Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi "called on the international community to demand an immediate halt to all forms of military escalation against defenceless civilians in Gaza"

Team Clarion

MUSCAT — The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on Tuesday announced $100 million in emergency aid for the Gaza Strip, as Israel continues to bombard civilian targets in the enclave.

After an extraordinary meeting here, the bloc’s foreign ministers pledged “an urgent humanitarian relief operation” with “relief aid worth $100 million,” an Agence France-Presse report said on Wednesday.

The top diplomats of the six GCC countries — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — met as hundreds of people were killed in strikes on a Gaza hospital compound sheltering the displaced civilians, said Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

Israel blamed a misfired rocket from Islamic Jihad, another Gaza-based fighters’ group which claims to be fighting alongside Hamas.

After the Hamas fighters burst through Israel’s heavily fortified Gaza border 11 days ago, shooting, mutilating and burning more than 1,400 people in southern Israel, Israel’s retaliatory bombing raids have killed around 4,000 Gazans.

The GCC meeting’s final statement stressed “the necessity of ensuring the urgent delivery of this aid” without specifying how it will get to Gaza.

In recent days, Gulf countries have sent plane-loads of assistance to Egypt’s El Arish, hoping to send it through the Rafah border point — Gaza’s only crossing that is not under Israeli control.

On Tuesday, hundreds of laden trucks headed along the 40-km road from El Arish to Rafah, aid officials said.

So far Egypt has kept the Rafah crossing closed, both to aid going in and foreign nationals trying to flee, as Israel has repeatedly struck the Palestinian side of the crossing.

GCC Secretary-General Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi “called on the international community to demand an immediate halt to all forms of military escalation against defenceless civilians in Gaza”, a statement on the GCC website said.

The international community must also “categorically reject any calls to forcibly displace the Palestinian people from Gaza, as this represents a violation of basic human rights and international principles”, it added.

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Photo: Members of the GCC Ministerial Council  in Muscat on Tuesday. — GCC/X 

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