'Humanitarian aid flow in our interest'

Defense officials say transfer of supplies to Gaza will continue; 90 trucks expected to enter Strip today.

January 1, 2009 02:52
1 minute read.
'Humanitarian aid flow in our interest'

gaza aid trucks 248.88. (photo credit: AP [file])


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Defense officials said Wednesday that the IDF cannot prevent humanitarian aid transferred into the Gaza Strip from falling into Hamas hands, and Israel will continue to facilitate the transfer of the supplies to the embattled territory. On Wednesday, 93 trucks carrying food, medicine and medical supplies donated by Jordan and international organizations were transferred into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom Crossing in the southern part of the Strip. On Tuesday, 93 trucks were also allowed into Gaza and another 90 are expected to enter Gaza on Thursday. A plane from Qatar will also land in Israel on Thursday carrying supplies that will be transferred to Gaza. "It is in our interest to keep on allowing supplies into Gaza, even if the supplies are stolen by Hamas," a defense official said. Officials added that the UN's World Food Program contacted the IDF on Wednesday and said that it would not need to transfer more food into Gaza, since its stockpiles were full and would last for another two weeks. UNRWA, however, blasted Israel on Wednesday and called for the immediate opening of the Karni Crossing to transfer wheat into Gaza. "We desperately need Karni to open, today, to get wheat grain in," said United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator Maxwell Gaylar. "UNRWA has no wheat grain for the 750,000 people who need it," he said. "The wheat grain warehouses are empty. We need to get that wheat grain in now. This is a must." The Israeli officials said that it would not be possible to open the Karni Crossing due to alerts that the Palestinians were planning to bomb the facility, but that if UNRWA was as desperate as it says, it could load the wheat on trucks and transfer it through Kerem Shalom. "We have a security problem at Karni," said Maj. Peter Lerner, spokesman for the office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. "If they want, though, they can bring the wheat into Gaza on trucks." Turkey sent five ambulances and 130 tons of flour on Tuesday, which came in via Jordan through the Allenby Bridge and then to Gaza via Kerem Shalom. Turkish authorities praised Israeli cooperation, and said that the aid was picked up in Gaza by PA officials. Another Turkish shipment, this time 11,000 boxes of basic foodstuffs, is to be delivered to Gaza on Thursday. Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

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