Palestinian receive food aid 248.88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
The IDF has set up a joint coordination center in Tel Aviv where officers and representatives of the Red Cross and other international organizations can meet to facilitate the supply of humanitarian aide to the Gaza Strip.
The center is located in a military base in Tel Aviv and was created based on a similar model used successfully during the Second Lebanon War.
On Sunday, Gaza Division Commander Brig.-Gen. Eyal Eisenberg; the head of the coordination center, Brig.-Gen. Baruch Spiegel; the deputy head of Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT); and Brig.-Gen. Kamel Abu Rukun met with senior officials from the International Committee of the Red Cross and UNRWA. In the meeting, working guidelines for humanitarian issues were agreed upon to increase and improve cooperation and prevent mishaps between the organizations and the IDF.
On Friday, following that meeting and others held over the weekend between COGAT and the organizations, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad met with representatives from the UN and the ICRC, which had suspended their shipments to Gaza after a truck driver was reportedly killed by IDF fire last week.
On Sunday, the international aid groups renewed their shipments and over the weekend a total of 132 trucks with 3,339 tons of humanitarian goods were transferred. These goods included basic food commodities, medical supplies, electrical supplies for the Palestinian Energy Authority, a donation of approximately 1,000 blood units from Jordan and a total of 42 truck loads for UN bodies.
Since the beginning of Operation Cast Lead the IDF has facilitated the transfer of 780 trucks into Gaza carrying over 17,000 tons of basic foods and medical supplies.
Meanwhile Sunday, defense officials discovered a discussion on a Hamas internet forum in which Palestinian civilians accused the terror group of stealing flour that the international organizations had supplied to Gaza. The flour is then released to the market at hiked-up prices. Hamas is also described in the forum as delivering the flour to two bakeries in Gaza which belong to the terror group.
The officials noted that there have been reports that Hamas is also stealing most of the medical supplies allowed into Gaza and for that reason the Palestinian Health Ministry is warning that its hospitals are lacking basic supplies. Hamas has, according to Israeli intelligence, established its own independent hospital in the Gaza Strip to treat its wounded.