Abbas wants urgent aid
Photo: AFP
Abbas calls for urgent aid to Gaza
Aid shipments must quickly reach Gazans in dire need, Palestinian leader says

The Palestinian president urged that more humanitarian aid be sent urgently to Gaza, saying Saturday that aid shipments were meeting only one-fifth of the actual need.


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the three-week Israeli offensive targeting Hamas militants based in Gaza had left the people desperate. Turkey has complained, meanwhile, that Israeli surveillance was preventing its aid shipments from reaching Palestinians quickly.


"The Palestinian people suffered from the most ruthless and barbaric onslaught for three weeks," Abbas told a joint news conference with Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul. "We want aid shipments to speedily reach the Palestinian people who are in dire need. So far, the shipments have met just 20 percent of the actual need."


Gaza is especially needy in the wake of Israel's recent offensive, which left nearly 1,300 people dead, displaced thousands and caused widespread destruction. Even before the offensive, some 80% of the region's 1.4 million people relied the UN Relief and Works Agency for food and other support.


On Friday, the UN agency suspended aid to Gaza, accusing the territory's Hamas rulers of stealing a humanitarian shipment for the second time this week. Hamas officials claimed Saturday they had resolved misunderstandings with the UN agency.


Abbas said that, meanwhile, Israel and Egypt should lift the blockades they imposed in 2007, after Hamas took control Gaza. Israel, fearing weapons smuggling, has allowed only humanitarian supplies through Gaza's border.


Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused Israel of holding up aid shipments.

"Our aid shipments have not been reaching Gaza," but have been "on hold while we engaged in negotiations" with the Israeli side, Erdogan said recently.


פרסום ראשון: 02.07.09, 20:25
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