Gaza wheelchairs
Wheelchairs and hospital beds, taken off the Gaza-bound flotilla of ships intercepted in a deadly Israeli navy raid last week, are seen at an IDF base on Monday June 7, 2010. Photo by AP
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More than a week after the Israeli navy forcibly intercepted a flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, the 10,000-ton cargo of the seven ships has yet to reach Palestinians.

Israel and the radical Islamist Hamas movement in control of Gaza blamed each other Tuesday for the aid not reaching its destination.

Major Guy Inbar, the Israeli military official charged with liaising with Palestinian officials told the German Press Agency dpa that Hamas was refusing to allow the aid in through Israeli-controlled border crossings over land.

He said Israel had already sent eight truckloads of goods, including electric wheelchairs, to its Kerem Shalom crossing with the southern Gaza Strip last Tuesday, a day after the raid on the flotilla in international waters off Gaza. Nine Turkish activists were killed when the interception of the Turkish Mavi Marmara turned violent.

Those goods were still waiting at the Kerem Shalom crossing, while the rest of the aid - including more wheelchairs, cement, medicine and medical equipment, toys and blankets - was still stored in warehouses in the southern Israeli port of Ashdod, Inbar said.

He said Israel was trying to coordinate their transfer into Gaza with the international community and with the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority of President Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas' rival.

Inbar denied charges by Hamas officials that the transfer of the electric wheelchairs to the Kerem Shalom crossing was a propaganda move and a "deception" because Israel had allegedly removed their batteries.

"The batteries are in the mini-scooters. That's another lie that you heard from the Hamas spokesman," he said.

Hamas' spokesman in Gaza, Fawzi Barhoum, said Israel, which confiscated the goods, should be blamed for setting its terms for their transfer.

"The problem is with the Israeli occupation, which imposes its conditions and mechanisms as it wants, and not as the international organizations want," he said, apparently referring to the Israeli demand that only cement to be used only for specified, supervised projects be allowed into Gaza.

According to Inbar, Israel was willing to allow cement to enter Gaza if used for specific reconstruction projects supervised by international organizations, to ensure it would not be used by Palestinian militants for building fortifications or weapons smuggling tunnels.

He also noted that "a lot of the medicine" included in the aid cargo had already expired between February and November 2009.

"The Red Cross will have to decide whether they will get into the Gaza Strip," he said.

He said Israel was willing to allow also the cement to enter Gaza if used for specific reconstruction projects supervised by international organizations, to ensure it would not be used by Palestinian militants for building fortifications or weapons smuggling tunnels.

He noted that "a lot of the medicine" on board had expiry dates that had already passed, including February 2009, April 2009, May 2009 and November 2009.

"The Red Cross will have to decide whether they will get into the Gaza Strip," he said.

"The one who is rejecting is Israel, not Hamas," Barhoum told dpa, accusing Israel of trying to "to continue misleading world public opinion."

He called on the world "to interfere to end the siege" of Gaza.