Gaza: Good Aplenty, No Buyers

Aid-convoy after aid-convoy arrives in El Arish for Gazans, stuffing the markets - but unemployment still rages.

Hillel Fendel , | updated: 15:44

Truck loaded with clothing and shoes
Truck loaded with clothing and shoes
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Hamas terrorist government of Gaza announced the arrival on Monday evening of a European medical convoy of ships entitled Miles of Smiles II. The ships held 45 supporters – not 70 European politicians, as organizer Issam Yousef originally said - from seven countries, who brought 45 ambulances and over 50 other vehicles loaded with medical goods and equipment worth an estimated one million euros.

The boats docked in the Egyptian Sinai port of El Arish, which is rapidly becoming the main drop-off point for ships laden with Gaza-bound goods.

Yousef, who serves as deputy foreign minister for Hamas in Gaza, said that more aid convoys were expected to arrive in Gaza during the month of Ramadan, which begins today.

A British delegation of 60 members arrived in Gaza beforehand in order to coordinate the arrival of Miles of Smiles with the Hamas leadership.

Other recent or soon-to-arrive aid shipments for Gaza include:

** the Al-Quds IV convoy from Libya, to be followed by Al Quds V at the end of Ramadan
** a Malaysian delegation that arrived in Cairo on its way to Gaza, bringing clothing and medical equipment
** an Algerian ship with 85 containers of food and medical equipment
** and a Syrian convoy with five trucks and 116 tons of food.

In addition, the Inter-Arab Parliament has decided to dispatch three aid convoys to Gaza: One at the beginning of Ramadan, one in October with school supplies, and one at the end of December.

Israel continues to send to Gaza 200-300 truckloads of food and supplies each day. It appears that in honor of Ramadan, the markets in Gaza are bustling with cheaply-priced goods – yet buyers are sparse, because of rampant unemployment in Hamas-run Gaza.

A month ago, Israel’s Cabinet approved 31 Gaza aid projects “in principle,” and plans to OK 45 more in the near future.