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Photo: AFP

IDF says aid mission to Gaza a provocation

Aid ships carrying hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists making their way to Gaza to break Israeli blockade, but army says mission unnecessary in light of 'stable humanitarian situation' in Strip

As eight ships are making their way through the Mediterranean towards the Gaza Strip in the framework of a European aid mission, Colonel Moshe Levi, commander of the Gaza District Coordination Office, told reporters Wednesday that there is no shortage of food or equipment in the Hamas-ruled territory.


"The sail is a provocative act that is unnecessary in light of the figures, which indicate that the humanitarian situation in Gaza is good and stable," he said, adding that Israel allows the transfer of many products to the Strip, apart from those which may be used by Hamas for terror-related activities.


According to data provided by the security establishment, 100 trucks enter Gaza every day. Over the past few months, these trucks have delivered, among other things, over 1,200 tons of medicines and medical equipment, 155 tons of food, 2,900 tons of clothes and footwear and close to 17 million liters (about 3.85 million gallons) of diesel oil, the army said.


"We are not familiar with any shortages in any field, and we are permitting the entrance of different kinds of equipment into Gaza, as well as the exporting of produce from Gaza," Levi said.


"Of course, anything that may be used by Hamas to boost its military capabilities will not be allowed in," he added.


The data also show that over the past year Israel has allowed 6,000 Palestinians to leave Gaza to receive medical treatment in Israel and Jordan. In addition, Israel does not limit the amount of medicines and food that enter the Strip.


A security official said that in some cases Israel allows the transfer of equipment that may potentially be used by Hamas so as not to obstruct the work of the UN or other international organizations.


According to the IDF, over the past year the unemployment rate in Gaza has dropped to 10-year low and currently stands at 38%, compared with 48% a few years ago.


The organizers of the aid mission said the ships are carrying hundreds of activists from all over the world. "We're helping the Palestinians, just like the Greeks helped during World War II against the Nazis," a Greek activist aboard one of the ships told Ynet Tuesday.


The mission was organized by Turkish group IHH as well as other leftist European organizations. The activists taking part in the sailing operation also expressed their fear that the IDF will prevent them from arriving at their destination.


פרסום ראשון: 05.26.10, 11:03
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