(Communicated by COGAT - Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories)
The COGAT Spokesman announced that on Sunday, November 18th, Israel opened the Kerem Shalom and Erez Crossings, transferring goods into the Gaza strip, and enabling foreign diplomats and patients to enter Israel. The opening of the crossings was facilitated by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Eitan Dangot, in conjunction with senior Palestinian Authority officials and members of the international community.
A total of 80 truckloads of medical equipment and food were transferred into Gaza. The crossings were opened in spite of the security threat facing the staff assigned to man the crossings.
The goods transferred via Kerem Shalom included 16 truckloads of medical equipment, such as medicines, anesthetics and disposable medical equipment, and 64 truckloads of food. Crucial components of CT scanners passed through the border and were delivered to the Beit Shifa Hospital.
The Kerem Shalom crossing opened on Tuesday morning (20 Nov) to allow the transfer of 120 trucks of humanitarian aid. However, when it was targeted by rocket fire from Gaza, the IDF was forced to close the crossing to ensure the safety of all those working at the crossing and passing through it. Only 24 trucks of humanitarian aid managed to make it through the crossings prior to the rocket strikes.
Trucks waiting at Kerem Shalom crossing (Photo: IDF Spokesperson)
All requests for medical supplies (equipment and medicine) submitted by the international community to the Gaza CLA have been approved for entry into Gaza. Humanitarian supplies from two UNWRA warehouses were transferred from Israel into Gaza through the Karni crossing.
Since September 2012, international organizations, in coordination with the Gaza CLA, have impoted 32 trucks of drugs and medical supplies through Kerem Shalom Crossing. This has included spare parts for dialysis machines, helium for MRI machines, and three fully equipped ambulances. An additional five loads of medicine were imported into Gaza through the Erez Crossing through special coordination.
The Erez crossing has been operating for the duration of the conflict except for times that its workers have been endangered by rocket and mortar fire from Gaza. On November 18, 35 diplomatic representatives and international organization employees exited Gaza.
Additionally, the Coordination and Liaison Administration to Gaza coordinated the exit of 26 patients and their escorts into Israel in order to receive medical treatment. From January to October 2012, more than 14,500 permits were issued by the Gaza CLA for patients and their escorts to leave Gaza through the Erez Crossing.
Israel is committed to provide continued humanitarian services and cooperation for the benefit of the uninvolved civilians residing in the Gaza Strip. However, it is subject to the limitations created by continuous rocket fire and attacks on the part of Hamas and other extremists groups in Gaza. Rocket attacks endanger the staff manning the crossing and often hinder or prevent the transfer of goods.
The IDF will continue to take measures to thwart terrorist attacks emanating from the Gaza Strip, while distinguishing between the terrorists and uninvolved civilians.