Equipment for building new hospital enters Gaza

Hamas: Hospital project part of truce understandings with Israel

Erez crossing (photo credit: REUTERS)
Erez crossing
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hamas has confirmed that equipment for building an international hospital arrived in the Gaza Strip through the Erez Crossing on Tuesday and said the move was in the context of the ceasefire understandings reached earlier this year with Israel under the auspices of Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations.
Palestinian sources in Gaza said that the Egyptians exerted pressure on Hamas over recent few weeks to calm the situation in order to avoid obstructing delivery of the equipment, which will be funded by a private American organization and managed by an international medical team.
The sources revealed that Qatari and German medical teams arrived in the Gaza Strip in the past week to provide medical services to Palestinians, also as part of the ceasefire understandings.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is said to have approved the project to build the 4-hectare international field hospital campus near the Erez Crossing.
The sources said that Hamas has made a big effort in the past two weeks to stop Palestinians from launching incendiary balloons at Israel in order to facilitate the entry of the hospital equipment. A US delegation of volunteers was scheduled to arrive in the Gaza Strip shortly after to supervise construction of the hospital, the sources added.
Hamas spokesperson Abdel Latif Qanou said that the beginning of the construction of the hospital was “one of the fruits” of the weekly protests near the border with Israel, which are being held in the context of the “Great March of Return” and began in March 2018.
He said that the entry of the hospital equipment into Gaza was a “step toward beginning construction work within the next few days.”
Qanou said that the new hospital would “ease the suffering of our people in the Gaza Strip, support the health sector and provide medical services to the residents.”
The Hamas spokesperson confirmed that the hospital project was part of the ceasefire understandings with Israel. These understandings, he added, aim to end the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip.
Despite the delivery of the hospital equipment, the weekly demonstrations near the border will continue until Israel fully implements the understandings, Qanou said.
Hamas and other Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip said that the ceasefire understandings reached last April call for ending “rough means” used by Palestinians during the weekly protests – including incendiary balloons, petrol bombs and explosive devices, as well as attempts to infiltrate the border with Israel.
According to the factions, the ceasefire understandings address issues involving power supply; expanding the fishing zone; carrying out international economic projects; increasing the work hours of the border crossings with Israel and Egypt; and the delivery of financial aid to thousands of needy families in the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian Authority has expressed opposition to the construction of the hospital, arguing that the project would “solidify the division between the West Bank and Gaza Strip and separate the two areas from each other.”
The government said that the project was part of an Israeli and US plan to consolidate the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip on the pretext of “humanitarian aid,” adding that Ramallah had not been consulted about the construction of the hospital.
A senior PA official claimed that Qatar had agreed to fund the building of the new hospital as part of its effort to deepen divisions among the Palestinians. The official accused Qatar of “playing a suspicious role” by mediating between Hamas and Israel. The official further claimed that Hamas was in collusion with the US administration, Qatar and Israel to implement the economic portion of the “Deal of the Century” – US President Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-announced plan for Middle East peace.