“You saved us from a catastrophe.” These were the first words of a Palestinian cancer patient as he landed in the UAE with his wife and sister — both of whom have cancer.
Yousef Almehesy was able to board the special Emirati rescue flight along with 170 Palestinians as the Israel-Hamas ceasefire agreement took effect in Gaza. He managed to come to the Emirates before the truce ends, or as he described it: “Before all hell breaks loose.”
The ceasefire gave Palestinians the chance to “breathe”, he said. “For my family and I, the bombardment was continuous. The ceasefire was a moment of peace that everyone in Gaza truly felt.”
Thanking the UAE for vowing to fly in 2,000 Palestinians to the country for treatment, he said: “We are glad we will get treatment in the UAE and live here for some time.”
He was part of the third batch of patients to be brought in to the UAE for treatment at Emirati hospitals. The Etihad Airways flight landed at the Abu Dhabi International Airport from Egypt’s Al Arish on Monday.
Tonnes of aid, including those from the UAE, have made their way to the besieged Gaza strip after nearly 50 days of Israeli bombardment. Talks are underway to extend the temporary ceasefire.
Sabah, a Palestinian grandmother, told Kheleej Times she lost 80 friends and family members in the war. Loved ones she lost include siblings.
She spoke about the relief she felt after the ceasefire took effect. Since the bombing was “continuous”, Gazans knew the truce was on when it stopped, she said. “A bit of fuel and food started to come in; it was a relief.”
Kameela Ahmed, another cancer patient, had to leave behind her children as she came to the UAE for treatment. “Some of my sons and daughters are alive in Gaza; others have been martyred during the war.”
She described what the ceasefire meant for the Palestinians: “Since the ceasefire, there has been no bombings. We were relieved that we could leave our homes, knowing we won’t get bombed.”
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