Here’s an entry on July 8th from the Guardian’s Live Blog on the war between Israel and Hamas.
Though the blog’s editor allows the claim made by MAP (a radical NGO whose leaders misuse their reputation as medical experts to support Palestinian political goals) to go unchallenged, the suggestion that there has been any Israeli restrictions on medicine into Gaza is flatly untrue.
Despite shortages of certain medicines in the Palestinian controlled territory, the problem, per COGAT, “emanates primarily from a dysfunctional relationship between the Palestinian Ministries of Health in Gaza and Ramallah” and has nothing whatsoever to do with Israel.
We also spoke to Yigal Palmor (spokesperson for the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs) today about the shortages in Gaza, and he told us that whatever shortages they experience are due to the “mismanagement of PA health authorities” who failed to purchase or to fund the acquisition of necessary equipment or materials. Further, Palmor stated unequivocally that “Israel has NEVER imposed restrictions on medical shipments of any kind“.
Additionally, Arab Israeli journalist Khaled Abu Toameh addressed this very issue in a column in January.
Here are excerpts from his article:
Palestinian patients in the Gaza Strip have become the latest victims of the ongoing power struggle between the two Palestinian governments of Fatah and Hamas.
Until recently, the two governments used to blame Israel for the shortage of various types of medicine in the Gaza Strip: spokesmen for the Hamas and Fatah governments claimed that the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip was depriving the ill of many badly needed medicines.
This week, the two rival Palestinian governments held each other — not Israel — responsible for the health crisis in the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian government in the West Bank, headed by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, announced that Hamas had been stealing or hiding most of the medicine that was sent to the Gaza Strip. Many Palestinians are believed to have died because of the lack of drugs and medical equipment.
According to the Fayyad government, Hamas militiamen have been confiscating shipments of medical supplies donated by the international communities and later offering the medical supplies for sale.
The medical supplies are sent first to the West Bank, where the Fayyad government is responsible for distributing them to Palestinians, including those living in the Gaza Strip.
Some Palestinians residents of the Gaza Strip and Western aid workers have confirmed the Fayyad government’s allegations, saying that Hamas has indeed been confiscating most of the medical supplies that are sent from the West Bank – putting the lives of many patients at risk.
Hamas, for its part, has retorted by leveling similar charges against the Fayyad government. According to Hamas spokesmen, if anyone is to blame for the severe crisis in the Gaza Strip’s hospitals and clinics it is the Fayyad government.
Hamas claims that the Fayyad government has been using the medicine to “blackmail” Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in a bid to undermine the Islamic movement’s regime.
So, to recap:
There are NO Israeli restrictions on medical supplies into Gaza, and there have evidently never been such restrictions.
Whatever shortages do exist are caused primarily by political infighting between Hamas and Fatah.
The Guardian continues to edit reports to impute guilt to Israel, and hold Palestinians blameless, regardless of the evidence.
UPDATE: We recently received the following statement from a Defense Ministry spokesman:
Border crossings into Gaza are open but for limited use. Kerem Shalom and Erez crossings are open for emergency medical assistance and the transfer of humanitarian aid (i.e. televisions, appliances etc. are not being let in, but food, medicine etc. is). Yesterday alone more than 180 trucks crossed into the Gaza Strip via the border crossings
- Guardian publishes letter by David Martin, MEP, advancing fiction that Israel limits medicine to Gaza (cifwatch.com)
- Guardian Gaza War blog cites ‘expert’ on…platitudes and distortions (cifwatch.com)