January 27 2009
Aid agencies have been protesting about their restricted access to Gaza since the 18 January ceasefire, stressing that the full opening of crossing points is crucial for the delivery of humanitarian aid.
“It is unacceptable that staff of international aid agencies with expertise in emergency response are still not given full access into Gaza, and that the crossings are not fully operational for humanitarian and commercial goods,” said Charles Clayton, chair of the Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA), which includes 75 agencies.
A recent CARE survey found that 89 percent of Gazans had not received humanitarian assistance since 27 December, underscoring the clear need, according to CARE, for more aid and humanitarian workers in Gaza.
CARE officer Juliette Seibold in Jerusalem told IRIN by phone on 26 January that eight of their staff members were still waiting for permits to enter to Gaza.
“If the ceasefire is holding, then any blockage of humanitarian access is unacceptable,” said Clayton.
The Israeli authorities are permitting 100-120 trucks to enter Gaza per day, according to the head of UNRWA (the UN agency for Palestinian refugees) in Gaza, John Ging.
However, “to meet the daily needs, hundreds of trucks are required,” he said, adding: “This is the same approach that led to this conflict. We need a change of policy regarding the crossing points. If they remain closed it will lead to more violence.”
Construction materials and spare parts are vital to repair damaged schools, hospitals, water and sewage systems, and power lines, but “these commodities are not available on Gaza’s market,” Oxfam spokesperson Sara-Eve Hammond, based in Jerusalem, told IRIN by phone, “and the Israeli authorities are waiting for specific donor requests to allow their entry.”
Hamas has wanted the blockade ended a long, long, time ago. Maybe the Aid Agency’s will now understand their frustration and anger with Israel. Seems they have the same problems with Israel. Palestinians deserve better treatment then Israel imposes on them.. No one should have to live the way they have been forced to live.