Queen Rania and JRF volunteers support Gaza and West Bank relief effort

February 05, 2008

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department – Marka) Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah lent a helping hand to volunteers at the Jordanian Hashemite Charity Commission as they loaded twenty two humanitarian relief trucks with nonperishable goods and medical supplies, Tuesday.

The trucks, which carried humanitarian aid such as medicine, milk, food and blankets, were dispersed to Gaza and the West Bank, in an effort to alleviate some of the suffering incurred in the territories since the siege last month. Queen Rania, an outspoken humanitarian advocate, has continued to highlight the crisis and asked for the people of Jordan to do all they can. “People there are being deprived of so many of the necessities that we take for granted… and I fear that this situation can get worse. We need to mobilize, and coordinate our efforts to collect aid to send to Gaza,” she said in a recent statement to Jordan TV. Upon Her Majesty’s urgent appeal, the Jordan River Foundation (JRF), which Queen Rania chairs, launched a relief campaign to collect humanitarian assistance. A JRF truck, accompanied by trucks from Kuwait and others from Jordan, carried a banner that read “From the children of Jordan to the children of Gaza.” Queen Rania was accompanied by His Royal Highness Prince Rashed bin Al Hassan, Chairman of the commission; Abdelsalam Al Abadi, Secretary General of the commission; and representatives of the Kuwaiti and Palestinian embassies as she loaded the trucks and checked on the storage facilities. The Hashemite Kingdom was quick to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Earlier this month, His Majesty King Abdullah issued a Royal ‘makruma’ inviting injured patients from Gaza to receive treatment in Jordan amid reports of deteriorating health services there. Queen Rania had visited the patients while they were receiving treatment in the Kingdom, where she called on the international community to play a leading role in enforcing human rights declarations international law and “to stop the collective punishment of innocent civilians, who have no political affiliations.” Also on Tuesday, Queen Rania met with UNICEF representatives Thomas Davin and Abdel-Rahman Ghandour, who briefed the Queen on the deteriorating situation in Gaza, where the majority of the population is under 18 years of age. Electrical outages are causing serious strains on children’s lives, health situation, sanitation and access to education. There are over 1.5 million Palestinians living in Gaza, most of who do not have access to electricity, medical attention, and basic needs. Seventy percent of the Gaza's population already lives below the poverty line and these latest restrictions will further increase their vulnerability, according to UNICEF. Davin and Ghandour also stressed that collective penalties are illegal in International Humanitarian Law (4th Geneva Convention) and children should not bear the brunt of conflict. They called for constant and unimpeded access to humanitarian aid and asked for the indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas to stop immediately. UNICEF estimates that the impact on future generation is high, as poor education conditions have a direct negative impact on learning achievement which in turn fuels exclusion and may contribute to further radicalization. The situation in the West Bank is only slightly better than that of Gaza, they said. Queen Rania, UNICEF’s Eminent Advocate for Children, recently spoke about the situation in an interview with CNN’s Becky Anderson where she asked viewers to remember the suffering of women and children “who have nothing to do with this political process in the first place”.