Kerem Shalom crossing
Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon
Photo: John Rivkin
Gaza is currently receiving the equivalent of 40% of the total goods Israel imports through both air and sea, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told ambassadors from around the world Thursday.
Speaking before 70 ambassadors at the Kerem Shalom crossing on the Gaza border, Ayalon presented data showing that Israel consumes 25,000 tons of food which it receives by sea and air, while Gaza receives 10,000 tons following the easement of restrictions recently imposed by the government.
Gaza's population is 1.5 million, while Israel's is 7.5 million. Some of the data presented by Ayalon can be explained by the fact that Israel produces much of its own food, but around 150 trucks filled with supplies are currently entering Gaza each day.
Ayalon told the ambassadors, among them Egypt, the EU, and the Mideast Quartet, that Israel was making every effort to make sure Gazans lack nothing. He accused Hamas of being the only obstacle in the residents' way.
"The only humanitarian incident in Gaza is the imprisonment of Gilad Shalit in inhumane conditions for over four years, without even being allowed a visit by the Red Cross," he said.
Ayalon added that it is "absurd" for Israel to continue concerning itself with Gaza's residents while the Hamas government was concerning itself only with harming Israel's residents.
"Just yesterday, 800 meters from here, a rocket exploded," he said. "It's absurd."
The coordinator of government activities in the territories, Major General Eitan Dangot, told the gathered
ambassadors that Israel will soon complete a list of prohibited products for Gaza, including weapons and military equipment.
Dangot added that Israel must empower the Palestinian Authority and upgrade the Gaza border crossings in order to allow for the transfer of goods and rebuilding of homes and infrastructure. He said international organizations have received everything they asked for when it came to transfer of goods to Gaza.