Israel approves construction of Turkish hospital in Gaza

Defense minister green lights plans amid reports of nearing reconciliation between Jerusalem and Ankara.

March 27, 2014 16:16
Trucks at the Kerem Shalom Crossing in Gaza [file]

Trucks at the Kerem Shalom Crossing in Gaza 390 (R). (photo credit: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuters)

Amid reports that Turkey and Israel may be on the verge of reconciling ties, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon approved plans by Turkey to construct a hospital in the Gaza Strip, authorities announced on Thursday.

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechay, recommended that the government allow the entry of construction material, electrical equipment, telecommunications, and water supply infrastructure into Gaza to begin work on the hospital.

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Turkey has asked that 570 trucks of material be allowed to enter the coastal enclave.

Turkey began constructing the hospital in 2011 using materials smuggled into the territory through tunnels and this is first time Israel has let any in for the project.

Once completed, the hospital will be jointly run by Palestinian and Turkish doctors.

Turkey has long opposed Israel's naval blockade of the Gaza Strip and relations between the countries deteriorated in the aftermath of the IDF's raid of the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara vessel in May 2010, in which nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists were killed. Staff contributed to this report.

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