SNP MSP Sandra White welcomed Jim Malone from the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) to the Scottish Parliament today to celebrate fire aid getting to Nablus in Palestine.
The fire engine carrying vital humanitarian aid including helmets, boots and breathing apparatus was frustratingly held by authorities in Israel for four weeks, but is on the move again, and in the final stages to Nablus.
The FBU set off with two fire engines, a Volvo WTL and Volvo FST; however the journey proved too much for one of the engines.
As well as an engine, the emergency equipment and kit includes – 20 Sabre Centurion breathing apparatus, 150 sets of Bristol fire kit, 80 Pacific fire helmets, 80 pairs of leather fire boots, 100 pairs of fire gauntlets.
Sandra White, MSP for Glasgow Kelvin and convener of the Scottish Parliament’s cross party group for Palestine, said:
“I am delighted that the Israeli authorities have now released the bulk of the humanitarian aid the fire engine was carrying, it’s a great testament to Jim Malone and the Fire Brigade Union and their dogged determination to get this aid through, regardless of the barriers”
“After an epic journey across Europe and on to Israel it was deeply frustrating for the FBU members to have to leave the fire fighting equipment and engine 50 miles from their destination of Nablus, after Israeli customs officials impounded the vehicle.
“But from here we can be positive that the international pressure, including letters of support from Fiona Hyslop, helped the aid into, and essentially out of, Israel and on to Nablus.
“The cross party group at the Scottish Parliament will continue to build on our strong relationship between the people of Scotland and the people of Palestine.”
Joe Fitzpatrick MSP for Dundee West visited Nablus last month and knows how vital the equipment is to the people of the city in the northern West Bank.
“This equipment was desperately needed by the fire-fighters in Nablus, it will save lives, and I hope that the other equipment and the engine will now be allowed through.”
The team left Dundee – which is twinned with Nablus – and stopped off at the Scottish Parliament for a colourful send off on October 3 before passing through 14 countries and arriving in Haifa, Israel, on October 14.