PressTV - Vivia Palestina Malaysia heads for Gaza:
Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:58PM
Mahi Ramakrishnan, Press TV, Kuala Lumpur
"Malaysia's former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has launched an aid convoy to the besieged Gaza Strip, in the latest international effort to help the Palestinian nation.
The Viva Palestina Malaysia (VPM) was officially launched on Saturday from the country's federal capital Kuala Lumpur, Press TV correspondent said.
Speaking at the launch, Dr. Mahathir slammed the US and Britain for their continuous support for Israel, stating that they allowed for the gross human rights violations against the Palestinians.
“Without the support of the United States and Great Britain these things would have ended long ago,” the former prime minister said.
He also accused the two countries of creating the Middle East crisis by “taking the land of Palestinians in order to give to the Zionists.”
During the ceremony, Lauren Booth, a journalist, human rights activist and sister-in-law to former British prime minister Tony Blair, also described the situation in Gaza as a “colossal humanitarian crisis” and the place as “the largest concentration camp in the world today.”
Besides delivering aid, VPM, which is a coalition of Malaysian non-governmental organizations, aims to come up with a just, equitable, prompt and sustainable resolution to the conflict in Palestine.
The group also plans to make employment opportunities available for Palestinian women, provide them with soft loans and create small integrated animal husbandry, an agricultural practice of breeding and raising livestock.
Last month, VPM participated in the delivery of 300 tons of medical and food supplies to the people of Gaza, as part of Asia's first Gaza-bound aid convoy.
Tel Aviv laid an economic siege on the Gaza Strip in June 2007 after the democratically-elected government of Hamas took control of the coastal sliver.
The three-year-long illegal Israeli-imposed blockade has plunged 1.5 million people into poverty.
With unemployment standing at around 40 percent, now, more than two thirds of Gazans rely on food aid by the United Nations and charity organizations.
To make matters worse, at the turn of 2009, the Israeli military launched a deadly assault on Gaza, killing at least 1,400 Palestinians, most of them women and children.
Since then, Israel has only allowed a trickle of food, medicine and fuel into the strip.
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