Gaza aid has increased substantially since the December 2009 Gaza War when the Israeli army invaded the Hamas-run territory in an attempt to put an end to the torrent of rocket attacks on its cities and civilians. The coastal enclave has been under siege since the Hamas militant organization was elected into power in 2007, making it difficult to transfer aid into the coastal territory. Israel has enforced a blockade, preventing the import of basic necessities and Gaza aid from European and international aid agencies with the fear that Gaza aid money will be used by Hamas to increase its terrorist activities against Israeli civilians.
After the end of hostilities between Israel and Hamas, Arab states organized a donors’ conference in Egypt in order to raise funds for Gaza aid. Gaza’s infrastructure suffered terrible destruction during Operation Cast Lead, and the Gaza aid is meant to help the people of Gaza rebuild after the devastating conflict; however, Israel and the United States expressed reservations that any Gaza aid much be handed to nongovernmental organizations and the Palestinian Authority and must not reach the hands of Hamas.
In addition, there have been attempts by pro-Palestinian Gaza aid groups from Europe and North America to break through Israel’s blockade of the strip. These attempts to bring in Gaza aid have been unsuccessful and only resulted in occasional confrontations between activists and Israeli authorities and their deportation, such as the deadly attack on the Turkish-flagged Gaza aid ship Mavi Marmara in May 2010, in which 9 Islamic activists were killed after the ship refused to adhere to Israel Defense Forces instructions.