Despite international criticism against Israel following a calamitous IDF raid on
an aid flotilla to Gaza, it appeared Monday that Hamas was the one preventing the goods brought by the flotilla from entering the Strip.
The army announced Monday that the humanitarian aid brought by the ships had been mostly unloaded, and estimated that the task would be completed in the next few days.
Tzrifin warehouse overflows with supplies (Photo: Avi Mualem)
However Hamas continues to insist that the shipment not be brought in through the land crossings, and in the meantime the goods continue to pile up in the army's warehouses.
Major Or Elrom, of the office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the (Palestinian) Territories, said there was nothing on board the flotilla's ships that Gaza's residents did not already have.
"All of these goods have been previously conveyed there, and we hope we can do the same in this case," she said.
A Defense Ministry facility adjacent to the Tzrifin army base has been turned into a temporary warehouse over the past few days, containing beds, mattresses, couches, medical supplies, shoes, clothing, and medicine – some of which has reportedly expired.
Eitan Kosto, who heads the Defense Ministry's logistics corps, said the cargo had not been loaded onto the ships according to professional guidelines and therefore some of the goods were damaged during the unloading.
"We had to work for a long time and devote many resources to unloading it all," he said. "The fact that it wasn't properly organized caused damage to some of the goods, but finally we succeeded in organizing everything so it could be transferred to the Strip."
Much of the equipment so far unloaded from the ships – mostly shoes and electric carts – was secondhand, while other products were apparently donated by various organizations and civilians, Kosto said.
He added that his personnel had not yet unloaded the cement and building materials on board, which would have to undergo security checks before entering the Strip.
However it remains unclear whether Hamas will allow the materials to enter. Last week the group kept out eight trucks carrying humanitarian supplies, which were attempting to enter through the Kerem Shalom crossing.