Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Wednesday updated US Assistant Secretary of State David Welch that the Palestinians refused to receive aid in medications from Israel.
Livni told Welch that Israel sought to transfer to the Palestinian Authority medications worth NIS 50 million (about USD 11 million), but the Palestinians asked that the sum be delivered in cash from their tax money.
Israeli defense officials said that "the Palestinians' stance reveals that there is no real health crisis in the PA and that they are trying to use the money for other needs."
The affair was exposed by Channel 10. According to the report, the World Health Organization (WHO) failed to convince the Palestinians to receive the medications from Israel.
State officials said Wednesday evening that 34 trucks loaded with medications have entered the Gaza Strip in recent days. The Israel Defense Forces also enabled the delivery of 119 additional donations through shipping containers loaded with medications expected to enter the Strip in the near future.
'Palestinians not interested'
Several weeks ago, Israel turned to the Palestinians through the WHO in a bid to clarify which hospitals were in need of medical equipment and medications in order to purchase them with the money in its possession.
The decision to purchase the medications and not give the Palestinians money was made by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who sought to address the PA's humanitarian problems, but to prevent the transfer of funds to the Hamas-led government which will use them as it pleases.
WHO representatives recently got back to Israel, saying that the Palestinians were not interested in receiving the medications. According to the representatives, the Palestinians are interested in cash for their own needs. On Wednesday Israel raised it before the US assistant secretary of state, and the argument remains unresolved.