NU-NRP: 'Not one crumb' for Gaza; Meretz, Labor favor humanitarian aid

Lawmakers sparred Sunday over who was responsible for the recent Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip, while the government weighed what type of aid Israel should supply. While the left-wing Knesset members demanded that the government provide immediate humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, right-wing MKs argued that Israel should not intervene. Opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu (Likud) was joined by several members of his party in telling the government that they had long predicted a Hamas takeover of the area. "I warned this would happen. Before the last elections and my warnings were ignored. I said then that 'Hamastan' would rise into existence and it has done just that," said Netanyahu. The Likud leader said that Hamas's gaining strength in Gaza was the inevitable result of Israel's "defeatist policies" and unilateral withdrawal from that area. Meretz lawmakers, including MK Zehava Gal-On, said that it was not the fact that Israel withdrew from the Strip, but the unilateral nature of the withdrawal that allowed Hamas to grow stronger. Meretz MKs also called on Israel to help alleviate the growing humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. "Israel must provide immediate food and medication to the Gaza Strip; we cannot wait for a catastrophe to occur," said Gal-On. "In the event of a disaster, Israel will be seen as responsible." Several Labor MKs, including Danny Yatom and Ophir Paz-Pines, also said that Israel should transfer humanitarian aid to the area, but make sure that the goods passed through independent aid organizations, and not Hamas. MK Arye Eldad (NU-NRP,) however, said that "not one crumb" should be sent to Gaza. Eldad said that Egypt, which lines the southern border of the Gaza Strip, should be responsible for providing food, water and electricity to the Strip. Israel, he said, should also cut its supply of utilities, since the power was "used to manufacture Kassams" and other weapons used against Israel. Eldad's fellow NU-NRP MK Effi Eitam also said that Egypt should be responsible for providing aid to the Palestinians in Gaza.