Israel Allows Limited Aid into Gaza; Not Enough To Relieve Humanitarian Disaster

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Al Jazeera English

Israel Allows Limited Aid into Gaza; Not Enough To Relieve Humanitarian Disaster

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UN says Gaza is dangerously short of supplies because of the Israeli blockade. (AFP)

GAZA - Israel
has briefly opened three border crossings with Hamas-controlled Gaza,
allowing some essential food and fuel into the territory for the second
time in three weeks.

However, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) warned
that temporarily lifting the blockade imposed by Israel on the
Palestinian territory would not allow enough supplies into Gaza.

"It
is just not enough," Christopher Gunness, a UNRWA spokesman said,
estimating that Gazans need at least 15 lorries worth of UN supplies
daily to get by.

Around
45 lorries of goods were allowed through the Kerem Shalom crossing on
Monday, including 10 United Nations vehicles carrying food and medical
supplies.

Around 15 truckloads of supplies were allowed through the Karni
crossing with an unspecified number also passing via the Nahal Ouz
crossing.

Sherine Tadros, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Gaza, said supplies of
European Union-funded fuel destined for Gaza's only power plant would
only last a few days - raising fears that hospitals and other key
insitutions will continue to be hit by power cuts and blackouts.

Temporary respite

"This is, perhaps, a bit of respite for Palestinians but there is no
security in the coming week ahead that they will have enough power to
keep businesses going," she said.

"The cycle is continuing whereby Israel drips in supplies but a few
days later [Gazans] are back at the same point where they are running
out of supplies... there's no security because they have no idea of
when the crossing will be open again."

Israel's decision to temporarily open the crossings comes just one
day after doctors at Gaza's biggest hospital said they had been forced
to rely on a faulty generator to operate life-saving equipment.

Hassan Khalaf, director of Shifa hospital, said lives were being put
a risk and that the intensive care unit could be rendered useless.

Israel closed all of its crossings with Gaza on November 5 in
response to rocket attacks launched by Palestinian fighters within the
Strip.

The Israelis have repeatedly said that they will not lift the blockade on Gaza until the rocket attacks end.

A Palestinian official said the Israelis agreed to temporarily lift
the blockade after Egyptian mediators intervened, asking Israel to let
in essential humanitarian supplies while calling on
Palestinian fighters to simultaneously stop rocket fire.

Both sides blame each other for breaching a fragile five-month old ceasefire, also brokered by the Egyptians.

However, both say they want the truce, that is due to expire in December, to hold.

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