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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - JAKARTA: The Indonesian government dispatched on Thursday its naval hospital ship to the waters near Gaza as part of its humanitarian assistance in the wake of Israeli attacks on the Palestinian enclave.
Indonesia, which has long been a staunch supporter of Palestine, dispatched two planes to send humanitarian aid to Gaza in November, with medicine, food, hygiene kit, blankets, mattresses and medical equipment for hospitals.
The third consignment weighing 220 tonnes is transported by the Indonesian Navy’s hospital ship, the KRI Radjiman Wedyodiningrat-992, which departed the Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta for the El-Arish Port in Egypt on Thursday.
“All of you today will depart for a humanitarian mission to deliver aid for our brothers and sisters in Palestine, in Gaza, who are going through a great tragedy, immense suffering, under relentless attacks that go beyond the limits of humanity and in neglect of international law,” Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto said, addressing the ship’s personnel ahead of their departure.
“We are not a country involved in the war, but we have solidarity and humanitarian responsibility toward our brothers in Palestine.”
The government, which originally planned to deploy the ship to provide health services for the people of Gaza, said it is still negotiating with Egyptian officials for authorization to do so.
“We are still preparing everything, what we are doing is sending humanitarian aid (first),” Subianto said.
Israel’s daily bombardment of the Palestinian enclave since October has killed more than 24,000 people and destroyed or damaged more than 70 percent of homes, while international rights groups are accusing Israel of using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare in Gaza.
The Indonesian Navy said in a statement that the third batch of assistance also included essentials for babies and other staples.
“This mission will take the route of Jakarta-Belawan-El-Arish-Jeddah-Batam before it comes back to Jakarta. The journey will take a total time of about 50 days on the sea to return to our homeland,” the Indonesian Navy said.
“This aid shipment will be headed toward El-Arish Port in Egypt, which will later be distributed to the victims in Gaza by relevant authorities, such as the Egypt Red Crescent.”
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