Two planeloads of humanitarian aid are expected to land in Israel in the coming days, en route to the Gaza Strip.
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The two planes, one American, the other Italian, will carry mostly medicine and medical supplies, as well as other vital equipment. The Israeli government approved the transfer of supplies to the Strip in light of the deteriorating humanitarian situation there.
According to a senior officer from the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories unit, in the Defense Ministry, “The reality in Gaza – both civilian and economic – is very, very bad. We are closely monitoring the humanitarian situation to ensure it does not reach a crisis point.”
According to COGAT data, more than 400,000 people have left their homes in Gaza, over half of them taking shelter in facilities run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. Hospitals, the officer noted, are operating at full capacity. COGAT has also allowed dozens of injured patients to exit the Rafah border crossing into Egypt to receive treatment there.
The officer also noted, however, that Hamas has prevented Israeli humanitarian aid from reaching Gaza, and that a field hospital erected by Israel near the Erez border crossing to treat Palestinian wounded has not seen much use. Indeed, COGAT reports that fewer than 50 injured people have sought treatment at the field hospital, due to Hamas’ opposition to it.
COGAT data show that some 1,730 Palestinians have been killed to date during Operation Protective Edge, including hundreds of innocent women and children. The officer explained that he cannot determine either how many among those died in actual fighting with Israel Defense Forces troops, or exactly how many of those killed were civilians. Estimates are that 9,000 have been injured during the operation.
“Over the last few days," the COGAT officer added, "we’ve seen that Hamas has been mostly launching mortar shells in close proximity to schools, mosques and clinics in Gaza, with the understanding that the IDF won’t return fire, or that returning fire would cause Israel to lose legitimacy.”