11/24/2008, 00.00
ISRAEL – PALESTINE
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Israel letting some humanitarian aid into Gaza

Fuel for the Strip’s only power station is allowed in. The United Nations complains that the amount of aid is insufficient. Truce with Hamas might be back on.
 

Tel Aviv (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak decided to open the crossings to the Gaza Strip after 19 days of blockade to let through humanitarian supplies, including medicine, food and fuel, the Defence Ministry said in a statement. The decision was taken after the number of rocket launched against Israeli territory dropped considerably and international pressure on Israel to relent intensified.

Israel clamped down on humanitarian imports to the Gaza Strip on 4 November, when a deadly army raid into the coastal territory triggered a surge in rocket attacks against the western Negev.

Today Israel agreed to let in more than 40 truckloads of goods, including 10 for UNRWA, officials said. However, it “is just not enough," said Christopher Gunness, spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

Gunness said his agency needed about 15 trucks a day for the 1.5 million residents of the prison-like Strip.

The United Nations repeatedly stressed how much the humanitarian crisis is impacting on the Hamas-controlled territory.

Also for the first time since 12November, Israel has allowed in European Union-funded fuel for the Gaza Strip's sole power plant, a move that could temporarily alleviate chronic blackouts.

In Israel government officials have noted that Hamas appears to be interested in restoring the truce in exchange for more relax border controls.

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