The "Free Gaza" flotilla of nine passenger and cargo ships heading towards
the Gaza coast "only serves to reinforce the tyrannical rule of Hamas at the
expense of ordinary Palestinian people," says Rev. Malcolm Hedding of
the International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem
The highly-profile sea convoy is expected to reach the waters off Gaza on
Saturday where the Israeli navy is preparing to use force to board the
vessels and steer them to the nearby port of Ashdod for unloading.
More than 1,000 pro-Palestinian activists and journalists from 40 countries
are aboard the vessels trying to draw attention to the Israeli blockade of
the narrow Hamas-run coastal strip that was set in place in the wake of the
jihadist militia's violent takeover of Gaza in the summer of 2007. The cargo
includes concrete for Hamas bunkers in order to strengthen their
stranglehold over the lives of ordinary Palestinians.
"Taking 10,000 tons of supplies to Gaza by sea is more about demonizing
Israel than helping the Palestinian people," says Rev. Hedding, Executive
Director of the ICEJ in Jerusalem. "Israel has been transferring more than
15,000 real tons of aid to the Gaza Strip every week for since the blockade
began. That's more than a million tons since January 2009 – one for every
man woman and child in Gaza.
"Let's be honest, the real aim of this stunt is to blame Israel for a
crisis in Gaza that has been caused by Hamas. Few journalists have enough
integrity to admit that Gaza's markets are full, and the governing elite
enjoy immense wealth and prestige.
"There is no shortage of food in the Gaza Strip. There is a shortage of
"What's more the aid convoy is actually smuggling in building supplies that
will directly help Hamas wage war against Israel. *Not only does the State
of Israel have the right to intercept this convoy, it has a moral and legal
duty to do so under international law.* If the Palestinians want to break
the blockade – they need to lay down their weapons and seek peace."
*THE REAL FACTS OF HUMANITARIAN AID*
Humanitarian Aid Despite Hamas Attacks
Well over a million tons of humanitarian supplies entered Gaza
from Israel over the last 18 months equaling nearly a ton of aid for every
man, woman and child in Gaza.
Food and supplies are shipped from Israel to Gaza six days a week.
These items were channeled through aid organizations or via Gaza’s private
Large quantities of essential food items like baby formula, wheat,
meat, dairy products and other perishables are transferred daily and weekly
Fertilizers that cannot be used to make explosives are shipped
into the Strip regularly, as are potato seeds, eggs for reproduction, bees,
and equipment for the flower industry.
In 2009 alone, more than 738,000 tons of food and supplies entered
Gaza. Pictures in local newspapers show local markets aplenty with fruit,
vegetables, cheese, spices, bread and meat to feed 1.4 million Gazans.
In the first quarter of 2010 (January-March), 94,500 tons of
supplies were transferred in 3,676 trucks to the Strip: 48,000 tons of food
products; 40,000 tons of wheat; 2,760 tons of rice; 1,987 tons of clothes
and footwear; 553 tons of milk powder and baby food.
In a typical week the IDF coordinates the transfer of hundreds of
trucks containing about 15,000 tons of supplies. During the week of May 18,
2010 there were more than 100 truckloads of animal food, 65 trucks of fruit
and vegetables; 22 truckloads of sugar, some 27 truckloads of meat, poultry
and fish; and 40 trucks of dairy products.
At holiday times, Israel increases transfers. During the Muslim
holy days of Ramadhan and Eid al-Adha, Israel shipped some 11,000 heads of
cattle into the Strip.
*2. Maintaining Medical Aid for All in Need*
*The Medical Corridor:*
No Palestinian is denied medical care in Israel. However, if the
Hamas regime does not grant permits for medical care, the Israeli government
can do nothing to help the patient. Israel will facilitate all cases of
medical treatments from Gaza, unless the patient is a known perpetrator of
Israel maintains a corridor for the transfer of medical patients out of
Gaza, and about 200 medical staff members go through the crossings every
Israel helps coordinate the transfer of Jordanian doctors into
In 2009 alone, 10,544 patients and their companions left the Gaza
Strip for medical treatment in Israel. Moreover, there were 382 emergency
evacuations from Gaza for medical purposes.
The Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem donates $3 million in aid annually to treat Palestinians in Israel.
Following fears of a swine flu outbreak, three Israeli hospitals
were assigned to treat cases in the Gaza Strip and 44,500 immunizations were
transferred to the Strip.
Since 2005, Palestinians exploited medical care arrangements more
than 20 times to carry out terror attacks.
In 2009, app. 4,883 tons of medical equipment and medicine were brought
In the first quarter of 2010, Israel shipped 152 trucks of medical
supplies and equipment into Gaza.
A new CAT scan machine was recently shipped to Gaza.
In 2009, Israel coordinated the transfer of medical supplies for
the disabled including wheelchairs, crutches and first aid kits. Other
equipment shipped to Gaza include heart-monitors, baby feeding tubes, dental
equipment, medical books, ambulance emergency equipment, artificial limbs
and infant sleeping bags.
In a typical week (in May 2010), some 37 truckloads of hygiene products
were shipped to Gaza through the land crossings.