Maj. Gen. Dangot: Humanitarian Aid to the Gaza Strip is Harmed by Hamas

Major General Eitan Dangot testified before the Turkel Committee, saying there is a direct correlation between rockets fired at Israel and aid transferred into the Gaza Strip

Date: 31/08/2010, 9:43 AM     Author: Jonatan Urich

While testifying on Tuesday (Aug. 31) before the Turkel Committee which was established to investigate the flotilla incident, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Eitan Dangot spoke about Israel’s economic-civilian policy toward the Gaza Strip and the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip over time.

“Israel tried the entire time to not harm but the civilian and humanitarian activities for the sake of the citizens of the Gaza Strip, even when Hamas came to power. To our dismay the body responsible for forcing the situation whereby we were obliged to change our policy is not Israel nor the IDF (Zahal), but Hamas,” he testified.

Maj. Gen. Dangot further emphasized that “Israel does not pretend to control the systems within the Gaza Strip, but her responsibility is to operate within many channels, including international ones, in order to ensure that goods and equipment will reach the civilian population.” He continued, “We are trying to get a feel for the situation through international organizations and other channels, and thus to operate in order to supply all the needed equipment.”

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said that even after Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip, Israel and the IDF (Zahal) tried to maintain civilian humanitarian aid to the area despite the serious blow to channels of communication between Israel and the Gaza Strip which resulted from this attempt. Likewise, Hamas’s rise to power brought on a change in Israel’s policy, which could be seen in the amounts of electricity and gas transferred into the Gaza Strip, as well as the movement of people between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

Maj. Gen. Dangot presented a summary with data of humanitarian aid trucks entering the Gaza Strip on a daily basis carrying food and equipment, from 2006 and until today. Based on the data, in the first four years there was a constant flow of 60-70 trucks with equipment entering the Gaza Strip every day. Maj. Gen. Dangot said, however, that at the end of the year 2008, an influx of rocket fire toward Israel resulted in the closing of the border crossings at various periods and the number of trucks decreased to about 23 per day.

“There is a direct connection between the number of rockets fired toward Israel and our ability to operate the crossings,” he said. “If in the year 2006 we continued to see an average of 80 rockets per month, we could have entered much more equipment into the Gaza Strip. But when the average number of rockets shot up in 2007 to 215 and later 288 rockets per month, the amount of equipment entering into the Gaza Strip decreased, reaching its lowest point in 2008 when 400 rockets were fired. Still, it is important to see that quantities of food entering the Gaza Strip show no significant changes and we have continued entering amounts according to Palestinian needs.”