Waiting for long periods in the logistics area is an integral part of the truck drivers' journey (Al Jazeera)

Rafah -

In light of a violent war and a series of Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip, trucks loaded with relief aid are gathering south of the Rafah land crossing from the Egyptian side.

Truck drivers are impatiently waiting to obtain entry permission, to deliver aid to the people of the Gaza Strip who were displaced to the Palestinian city of Rafah as a result of the ongoing Israeli aggression since October 7, 2023.

Human solidarity

Human solidarity appears clearly in these difficult circumstances, as hope remains pinned on the arrival of the necessary aid to those in need in the Gaza Strip in light of the harsh conditions in which they live, said Muhammad Atef, who began his journey two days ago from the heart of Cairo to the eastern border in the hope of bringing aid to his brothers in the Gaza Strip. .

Atef added to Al Jazeera Net, "Truck drivers pass through the Rafah crossing with careful inspection procedures. After entering the crossing, they head towards Al-Awja for inspection by the occupation authorities. The trucks are lined up in a chain of about 200 trucks, and no larger number than that are allowed to enter. After the examination and inspection, we return from "Al-Awja will return to Rafah to begin unloading aid. All these steps will be in coordination with the Egyptian authorities to ensure the safety of our crossing."

The young man in his thirties describes the waiting conditions, saying, “I am waiting with my colleagues in the area established by the Egyptian authorities near the Rafah crossing, to prevent the accumulation of trucks on the main road and side roads. We hear the sounds of explosions from the Israeli raids targeting the Palestinian side, where the Rafah governorate is, and we see tongues of flame and columns of smoke rising to the sky.” .

He continues, "We have been waiting for two days for the date of our entry to unload the trucks on the Palestinian side, carrying messages of love and brotherhood from the Egyptian people to our brothers in Palestine, in addition to aid that varies from one truck to another, including food aid, canned goods, blankets, drinking water, and bags of rice and flour."

Ahmed Abdel Aziz Ali (52 years old), the driver of a truck loaded with aid, said that he came from his residence in Menoufia Governorate, heading to the city of 6th of October, west of Cairo, and he came loaded with canned food supplies in the hope that they would reach those entitled to them as quickly as possible in all the governorates of the Gaza Strip.

“I live all my life in my truck, which has become my mobile home, hoping to unload the shipment and return to loading others, God willing,” is how Ahmed Abdel Aziz described his life at a time when everyone is joining hands trying to deliver aid to the Palestinian people who are suffering under the ongoing Israeli aggression.

Truck drivers face many challenges in the border area (Al Jazeera)

Random inspection

When night falls, and the sun's rays disappear from where the trucks are gathered, driver Ahmed Abdel-Al (46 years old) prepares to prepare a meal for him and his companion, Mustafa Abu Al-Hassan (28 years old), to share. Abdel-Al says with angry expressions on his face, “We suffer from random inspections and we are stuck for several days at the Al-Awja crossing.” Where there are arbitrary Israeli procedures to inspect trucks.”

He added, "Inspections conducted by the Israeli occupation authorities at border checkpoints are always remarkably random. These operations can extend for several days, which increases the complexity of the procedures and our suffering as drivers."

Abdel-Al explained to Al Jazeera Net that drivers sometimes experience a shortage of the food they carry, as a result of the lengthening of the inspection period.

They are prevented from using small gas cylinders, and are kept away from trucks during inspection by the Israeli occupation authorities, forcing them to sleep in the open for long periods, and increasing the difficulty of their journey, according to him.

Challenges and priorities

Some truck drivers strive to find creative ways to arrange their lives to appear more normal.

While the trucks are being prepared with aid, a schedule is drawn up that includes periods for rest and eating by the drivers, according to what driver Haitham Muhammad (35 years old) said.

Muhammad added to Al Jazeera Net, “We put our food in a small storeroom equipped with a small oven to prepare meals attached to the truck, and we keep a stock of dry groceries and canned goods. We work to prepare our meals on a daily basis, and sometimes volunteers provide us with ready-cooked meals, and some people of North Sinai provide us with cooked and raw food from Their homes."

As for Tamer Al-Sharqawi (48 years old), a truck driver carrying food supplies, he faces challenges in the border area, where communications networks are cut off, forcing him to walk two kilometers to contact his family.

The drivers believe that they are on a humanitarian mission, and they challenge any difficulties that prevent them from performing this role.

Truck drivers complain about random inspections by the Israeli side (Al Jazeera)

The drivers are all looking forward to fulfilling their dream of providing aid to the people of Gaza, noting that waiting is an integral part of their journey, and they must endure in order to deliver supplies to the displaced in all the governorates of the stricken Strip, according to what they said.

There, in the area where the aid trucks are lined up, the drivers share the organization of their daily work, and cooperate among themselves, amid the challenges of random inspections and long waiting periods, bearing the responsibility of delivering food aid to displaced people caught in the jaws of war and hunger, and who have become a spot of light for thousands of families in Gaza.

Source: Al Jazeera