Turkish aid ship arrives in Gaza after stop in Israel

July 4, 2016  

Turkish aid arrived in Gaza on Monday via Israel, as part of the reconciliation agreement between Turkey and Israel, AFP reported.

Turkish and Palestinian officials welcomed 10 truckloads of supplies, including food parcels, toys and children’s clothing and shoes as they reached the impoverished territory in time for the Muslim Eid celebrations on Wednesday marking the end of Ramadan fasting, according to the report.

“These are the first Turkish aid trucks into Gaza,” Mustafa Sarnic, Turkey’s ambassador to the Palestinian Authority, told a press conference near the Kerem Shalom crossing with Israel.

“Turkey will continue its efforts to help the residents of the Gaza Strip and to help solve the water and power crisis,” he added.

The Panama-flagged Lady Leyla container ship docked at southern Israel’s Ashdod port on Sunday after sailing from Turkey.

Its contents were unloaded, inspected and sent on to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

Youssef Ibrahim, the Hamas deputy minister of social affairs, said the 11,000-ton shipment would be distributed to those most in need by his ministry along with the Turkish and Palestinian Red Crescent societies.

It was due to be the first of many, he added.

“These 10 trucks are part of 400 trucks of Turkish aid for Gaza.”

Turkey and Israel recently announced the restoration of ties that were cut off following the 2010 flotilla, in which Islamists on the Mavi Marmara tried to break Israel’s naval blockade on Gaza, claiming the ship was carrying humanitarian aid for Gaza.

When the Islamists refused to change course and dock in Ashdod, IDF had no choice but to board the ship, where they were promptly attacked and beaten by the Islamists on board, forcing them to open fire and killing 10 people.

The contents of the ship were later inspected and it was discovered not to have been carrying any aid whatsoever.

As part of the reconciliation agreement, Turkey had initially pushed for a lifting of Israel’s blockade

of Gaza, but Israel rejected this and a compromise was eventually reached allowing Turkey to send aid through Ashdod.

Under the reconciliation deal, Israel will also pay $20 million in compensation to the families of those killed on the Marmara.

Meanwhile, a newly published section of the deal revealed on Monday that it stipulates that the Turkish government – led by the Islamist, pro-Hamas AKP party – is allowed to transfer large amounts of money to Gaza, via banks approved by Israel to do business in Gaza.

According to one of the sections of the agreement, “Turkey will be able to transfer money to the Gaza Strip via banks approved to work in Gaza by Israel and the Palestinian Authority, subject to Israel’s security considerations.”

The latter caveat is clearly intended to prevent the funds being funneled to Hamas or other terrorist groups active in Gaza – but the question many are asking is how Israel can prevent Hamas in particular from obtaining the funds via official “government agencies” in Gaza, all of which are run by Hamas.

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