During their visit to the Rafah border crossing on Saturday, two U.S. senators condemned Israel for impeding the supply of humanitarian aid to the Palestinian enclave in Egypt. CONTINUE FULL READING>>>>>
Sens. Jeff Merkley and Chris Van Hollen testified that they saw hundreds of trucks loaded with necessities waiting weeks to enter Gaza, and that they saw an entire warehouse full of products that were refused by Israeli inspectors for no apparent reason.
According to NBC News, The senators said the items included water testing equipment, medical kits for delivering babies, and solar panels, all of which are desperately needed by the Gaza population, which has been under an Israeli blockade since 2007.
They also said the system to ensure that aid deliveries within Gaza don’t get hit by Israeli forces is “totally broken,” and called on Israel to ease the restrictions and allow more aid to reach the people.
“What struck me yesterday was the miles of backed-up trucks. We couldn’t count, but there were hundreds,” Merkley said in a briefing with Van Hollen to a group of reporters in Cairo.
The U.S. has been pressing Israel for weeks to let greater amounts of food, water, fuel, medicine and other supplies into Gaza, and the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution on Dec. 22 calling for an immediate increase in deliveries. Three weeks ago, Israel opened its Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza, adding a second entry point for aid after Rafah.
Still, the rate of trucks entering has not risen significantly. This week, an average of around 120 trucks a day entered through Rafah and Kerem Shalom, according to U.N. figures, far below the 500 trucks of goods going in daily before the war and far below what aid groups say is needed.
The senators urged the international community to step up its efforts to end the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and to support a political solution that would address the root causes of the conflict.
“We have a moral obligation to do everything we can to alleviate the suffering of the people of Gaza, and to help them rebuild their lives and their communities,” Van Hollen said. CONTINUE FULL READING>>>>>