Bowing to pressure from the highest authorities in Jordan, the Israeli Army has allowed Jordanian helicopters to fly to Ramallah and deliver urgently needed medical aid to the Palestinians. Flying across the Jordan River into the occupied West Bank, Jordanian helicopters on Tuesday and Wednesday landed near the besieged Palestinian city and delivered cargos of medicine and blood to waiting Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances.
Both Palestinian and United Nations authorities have warned in recent days of a desperate shortage of medical supplies as Israel continues its offensive in the Palestinian areas. Jordan was quick to respond to the urgent need, and its citizens have been streaming to the National Blood Bank to donate their blood for Palestinians injured in attacks by the Israeli military. Long lines have formed outside the Blood Bank as Jordanians wait their turn to make a life-sustaining contribution.
The Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization is the coordinating body for delivering blood and many other medical supplies to the Palestinians. The charity has been active in delivering aid in several of the world’s most troubled regions in the past years, for example donating ambulances to the troubled Bosnia in its time of need.
A problem facing the delivery of the aid to Palestinians is that the bridges across the Jordan River, which are under Israeli control, have been closed as Israel carries out its operations inside the West Bank. Beyond the bridges, innumerable roadblocks and the threat of wandering into active gun battles make delivery of the urgently needed supplies difficult and dangerous.
The problem was resolved by sending the medical supplies by helicopter. Flying directly to the besieged Palestinian city Ramallah, the helicopters deliver the supplies swiftly to the eagerly waiting Red Crescent staff, who then rush these to hospitals in the city.
The Israeli military, usually fiercely active in preventing any foreign aircraft from entering its air space, has received orders to allow the direct flights from Jordan to Ramallah, and to assist them. The Jordanian helicopters have been allowed to use Israeli military landing fields close to the city, and Palestinian ambulances have been allowed into these facilities to take delivery of the supplies. This amazing turn of events was apparently the result of strong pressure on the Israeli leadership by the highest levels in Jordan.
Jordan National Blood Bank Director Janet Niqur told reporters that the Bank's refrigerators are packed with thousands of donated blood units waiting to be sent to Palestinians, and added that blood type most needed to be sent to the Palestinians is O positive. 1,000 units of vitally needed blood have already been delivered to Ramallah via the new “Air Bridge” yesterday.
Meanwhile, sources in Ramallah have reported that following deliveries on Tuesday and on Wednesday morning, a further helicopter flight is expected later on Wednesday. (www.albawaba.com)
Photos – Royal Jordanian Air Force
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