Another Turkish relief organization has opened a centre in Gaza as part of the effort to relieve the suffering of the poor and needy in the besieged territory. Palestinians in Gaza have had an almost total blockade placed on them for almost four years. The Helping Hand Foundation has opened its new office in order to support directly hundreds of poor families in Gaza, as well as provide emergency relief to thousands more. This is the third Turkish charitable foundation to have opened an office in the Gaza Strip.
Helping Hand receives financial support from Turkey and some European countries. It enables families to twin with desperately poor families in Gaza by sending much-needed financial aid. Turkish support for the population of Gaza has increased since the Israeli invasion of Gaza a year ago. Helping Hand Foundation itself was founded in March, 2007.
During the opening ceremony of the Gaza office, the foundation's General Coordinator, Osman Al-Han, said, "We are working to strengthen our relief support not only in Palestine, but in twenty other countries around the globe." Al-Han pointed out that the "twin family" project was actually launched in late 2008, before the Israeli invasion, to support the Palestinians' steadfastness.
The Minister of Social Affairs in the Palestinian government in Gaza, Ahmed Kurd, welcomed the opening of Helping Hand's new branch: "This reflects the brotherly ties that go back hundreds of years between the people of Palestine and the people of Turkey." Turkish relief organisations were among the first to rush aid to Gaza during and after the war and have brought convoys of supplies to the Gazans, their brothers, he added. In his speech at the opening ceremony, Mr. Kurd also praised the role of the Turkish government and people over the past desperate months.
The President of the Public Committee to Lift the Siege, Jamal Al-Khodary MP, said that the opening of the Turkish foundation's office in Gaza is "an important step forward towards lifting the blockade and strengthening the steadfastness of the besieged people of Gaza".
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