The National Alms Agency (Baznas) informed here on Wednesday that it has so far received Rp50.5 billion (around US$3.3 million) in the first stage of humanitarian fund collection for Palestine, which will end on November 30, 2023.
“The total amount of donations we have so far received has included the humanitarian funds the Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI) will symbolically hand over on Thursday (November 16),” Baznas head Noor Ahmad said.
The funds collected from the public reflect the enthusiasm of Indonesians in assisting the people of Palestine in the besieged Gaza Strip, he added.
If, by November 30, the agency manages to collect Rp70 billion or Rp100 billion, the enthusiasm of Indonesians for helping Palestinians could be described as “remarkable,” he said.
With regard to logistics aid for Palestine, Baznas will accept aid packages until November 18, which will thereafter be shipped on an Indonesian naval ship to Egypt, Ahmad informed.
“If we still receive the charitable logistics for Palestine after November 18, Insya Allah (God willing), we will be transporting the goods to Egypt by using air cargo though the freight costs are high enough,” he said.
However, transporting the logistics aid on the Indonesian naval ship would be “free of charge,” he said, adding that the first consignment of aid weighing 51.5 tons arrived in Gaza on November 11.
The aid comprised logistics and medical supplies and was provided by Baznas in collaboration with its partners, including Lembaga Amil Zakat and the Indonesian people, he informed.
According to the Egyptian Red Crescent (ERC), at least 600 aid trucks carrying humanitarian aid from Indonesia, including from Baznas, have crossed the Rafah border checkpoint and reached Gaza, he added.
Besides collaborating with Baznas, the Indonesian government is also working with the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) and Humanitarian Forum Indonesia to collect humanitarian aid for Palestine.
Fresh armed conflict erupted between Palestine and Israel following a surprise attack by Hamas on Israel early in the morning of October 7.
Prior to the assault by Palestinian liberation fighters, the Israeli government had continued its closure of Gaza crossings.
Palestine’s news agency WAFA reported on September 25 that the Israeli closure of Gaza crossings had worsened the living conditions of Palestinians in Gaza.
According to the news agency, the Palestinians were already suffering from the severe impact of “more than 17 years of tight Israeli land, sea, and air blockades.”
Al Jazeera quoted Hamas, which governs Gaza, as stating that its assault on Israel was “a response to the desecration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and increased settler violence.”
In response to the unprecedented surprise attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared war on Hamas. According to Al Jazeera, he pledged that Israeli forces would “turn all Hamas hideouts into rubble.”
The Israeli bombardment of Gaza, followed by a ground invasion in the besieged enclave, has reportedly killed more than 11,300 Palestinian civilians.
Two-thirds of those killed in Gaza are women and children, Al Jazeera reported.
The ongoing Israeli military campaign in Gaza has also worsened the humanitarian crisis and caused hospitals to suspend operations due to the unavailability of fuel and water.
Source: Antara Indonesian News Agency