gaza gas 224.
(photo credit: IDF)
Hamas is unnecessarily endangering Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip by generating phony humanitarian crises, head of the Gaza Coordination Liaison Administration (CLA) Col. Nir Press said Monday.
On Sunday night, Gaza's Shifa Hospital claimed that due to tight Israeli restrictions on imports into Gaza, it had run out of anesthetic for surgeries, and as a result had canceled all but the most critical procedures.
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post on Monday, Press dismissed the claims and said that in a meeting he held Sunday afternoon with Palestinian Health Ministry officials he was informed that the hospitals were running "low" on the anesthetic. On Monday morning, less than 24 hours after making the request, Israel transferred 151 nitrous oxide gas balloons to Shifa Hospital.
"It is the Palestinians' responsibility to order the supplies," Press said, noting that despite the daily rocket attacks on Israeli towns - on Monday 10 rockets and shells pounded the western Negev - Israel continued to transfer medical goods and supplies into Gaza whenever they were ordered.
Press said that orders were usually placed by the Palestinians days in advance and that Sunday's sudden announcement "was a spin by Hamas and an attempt to put pressure on Israel by creating a humanitarian crisis."
He said that the incident resembled Palestinian claims a few months ago that due to Israeli restrictions on the crossings they ran out of gas needed to operate the Gaza power plant and as a result large parts of the Strip were left without electricity for several days. Also then, Press said, Hamas unnecessarily disrupted Palestinian civilians' lives to try to create an image that a humanitarian crisis was developing in Gaza.
"These are examples of how Hamas wants to create humanitarian crisis," he explained. "They wait until the last moment and then tell us they are running out of supplies so they can create this image of a crisis."
While Israel was preventing the transfer of raw materials into Gaza - such as pipes that could be used to manufacture Kassam rockets - Press said that any order of medical supplies or food was immediately processed. He said that the CLA also allowed a number of Palestinians to cross from the Gaza Strip into Israel for medical treatment daily.
Meanwhile Monday, in an effort to improve health conditions in the West Bank, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Yusef Mishlav allowed 120 Palestinian medical students to enter Jerusalem to complete their studies. Some of the students are from the Gaza Strip and have been studying medicine for the past six years at Al Quds University.
The Foreign Ministry also approved a plan to train Palestinian medical teams at Hadassah-University Hospital, Ein Kerem. Under the plan, Palestinian doctors, nurses and technicians will be trained at the Israeli hospital and in addition receive a monthly stipend of $643.
On Thursday, a joint Palestinian-Israeli conference on gynecology and childbirth will be held at the French Hospital in Nazareth. The IDF has allowed 50 Palestinian doctors to enter Israel to attend the conference.