The IDF Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) has rejected allegations that Israel is doing anything other than its utmost to enable international assistance of medical and health systems in the Gaza Strip.
Major General Kamil Abu Rukun issued a video statement on COGAT’s “Almunasseq” Facebook page to address “false accusations heard during the recent days by officials in the Strip.”
He underscored that “Israel has not denied any request for medical assistance that has reached its doorstep and is even working to assist the medical system in the strip while harnessing the international community.”
Here is the full text by Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Abu Rukun:
Residents of the Gaza Strip,
COVID-19 has recently been erupting and spreading in the Gaza Strip, bringing a sharp increase in illness.
We find it important to emphasize clearly that neither I, nor the organization that I head, nor any other representative of Israel, has obstructed any request or requirement for the entry of medical aid of any kind. We welcome all assistance, from all the various sources.
In light of the situation, COGAT is allowing assistance from the international community to the health system of the Gaza Strip.
So far, many dozens of ventilator machines have arrived, as well as many PCR machines, which have increased the pace of testing from 200 to 2,500 tests a day.
Dozens of oxygen generators have arrived, and hundreds of inhalers for hospital use and home use. Hundreds of hospital beds have been added, and with our coordination, approximately 600 tons of essential medications and medical equipment have been allowed entry, including tens of thousands of coronavirus testing kits.
All that assistance can help the health system to provide care and save lives. COVID-19 pandemic is a global challenge, and it behooves all parties to strive for a solution to that challenge.
Allow me to take this occasion to wish everyone good health.”
Deteriorating public health, failing economy and widespread poverty in Gaza are seemingly posing rising challenges to its Islamist rulers.
As reported by TV7 earlier this week, public health officials in the densely populated Palestinian enclave are warning that a sharp increase in coronavirus infections could overwhelm its limited medical system as soon as next week.
Leaders of the Hamas terror group that controls Gaza have so far imposed only one lockdown on the territory. They blame the blockade on the enclave, imposed by Israel and Egypt to prevent the transfer of arms and terror-related materials, for having crippled the Gazan economy and undermined its public health apparatus.
A report published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) yesterday echoed those claims against Israel’s refusal to lift the military blockade against Hamas – whose rulers proactively and openly call for the annihilation of the Jewish State.
According to the report, Gaza incurred an estimated $7.8-$16.7 billion economic loss due to the blockade and its 3 separate conflicts with Israel since 2007. It also stated that Gaza’s economy rose by just 4.8% during that same time frame while the population surged by more than 40%.
While the UN document made brief mention of the indiscriminate rocket fire by Islamist militants at Israel, it did not seek to highlight that Egypt also enforces its own blockade along Gaza’s western border nor the refusal by the West Bank-headquartered Palestinian Authority to transfer funds to its Hamas rivals in the Strip.
Hamas Spokesman Hazem Qassem immediately hailed the report for revealing that Israel’s blockade, which he referred to as “a siege,” is “a real war crime” that has “pushed all services sectors in the Gaza Strip to collapse.” He also asserted that the Jewish State is solely responsible for Gaza’s spike in COVID-19 morbidity and a looming humanitarian catastrophe.
Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem strongly refuted the findings, and accused UNCTAD of failing its mission to assist developing economies by presenting a “one-sided and distorted depiction” that disregards ”terrorist organizations’ control over the Gaza Strip and their responsibility for what occurs in the Gaza Strip.”
— By Erin Viner