'UN to transfer flotilla aid to Gaza'

IDF approves move; Hamas protests blockade by disallowing supplies.

June 15, 2010 22:17
1 minute read.
Workers unloaded aid packages.

Aid_311. (photo credit: AP)

The United Nations will transfer to Gaza tons of aid supplies that were on board the flotilla of aid ships intercepted two weeks ago, the IDF said Tuesday.

Richard Miron, a spokesman for the UN Mideast envoy, confirmed the deal. The military said the aid, taken from a six-ship Gaza-bound flotilla after nine people died in clashes, would fill 70 trucks.

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Up to now, the Hamas rulers of Gaza have refused to accept the aid as a protest against Israel's three-year blockade of the territory. Hamas had no comment on the arrangement, under which the UN would take charge of seeing that the aid would be used in authorized humanitarian projects.

Supplies to be inspected, transferred overland

The Israeli military statement noted that Israel offered to let the flotilla land at an Israeli port, and then the aid would be transferred overland to Gaza after inspection, but flotilla organizers refused.

The May 31 raid on the flotilla, when commandos clashed with pro-Palestinian activists and killed nine, has focused world attention on the blockade and its dire effects on Gaza's 1.5 million people. Israel has been under intense international pressure to ease or lift the embargo since the clash.

Miron said that under the agreement, all the cargo would be sent to Gaza. He could not say whether that included items banned by Israel, including cement, but that if such items do make up part of the goods, "the UN will determine how and where it is used."

Neither side would say when the supplies would be taken to Gaza.

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