Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Humanitarian Aid to Gaza to be Diverted to Crossing Under Direct Israeli Control

Palestine News Network (reporting from Cairo), February 3, 2009 - The Egyptian Foreign Ministry issued new rules and procedures related to the import and export of humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip.

Included in the plan are new procedures to deal with humanitarian delegations and aid, most all of which is still blocked by the Israelis.

The ministry wrote in a note circulated to embassies working in Cairo that the new rules and procedures must be strictly adhered to.

No inconsistent request will be considered. “These measures will be applied without any exceptions,” the Egyptian mandate states.

The Egyptian–Palestinian border crossing will be partially operational, but within a few days much of the aid, including food, will be diverted to the southern Israeli crossing. In the past when the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza was open, the Israeli administration attempted to divert imports to its southern crossing in order to increase control. The Palestinians had refused this during negotiations.

Since the 23-day attacks, the United Nations has been demanding that the Israelis open all of the crossings for humanitarian aid and building supplies. However the Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said that the Israelis expect to control UN reconstruction efforts, including supplies....

Medical and humanitarian aid will be required to enter the Gaza Strip through the Israeli controlled crossing of Karam Abu Salem after 5 February.

All food aid is suspended until tomorrow while visits from delegations of parliament, trade unions and engineers are postponed until further notice.

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