IDF coordination chief: There is no humanitarian crisis
Yaakov Katz , THE JERUSALEM POST Jan. 1, 2009
Hamas terrorists are using civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip -
including hospitals, mosques and areas next to offices of international aid
groups - to conduct terrorist activity and fire rockets at Israel, Col.
Moshe Levi, commander of the IDF's Gaza Coordination and Liaison
Administration (CLA), said Thursday.
Levi, who is in charge of coordinating humanitarian efforts in the Gaza
Strip, told The Jerusalem Post that since Sunday over 330 trucks carrying
food, medicine and medical supplies had been allowed into the Gaza Strip
despite the daily rocket barrages against the South.
In addition, the CLA has facilitated the transfer of 10 ambulances and 2,000
blood units to Gaza, and has approved a Palestinian request to allow three
Gazans wounded in the fighting into Israel for medical treatment, Levi said.
He rejected Palestinian claims of a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip
"Hamas is trying to create the appearance of a humanitarian crisis, but
together with the international organizations, we are preventing this from
happening," he said.
Levi said Israel was prepared to accept additional wounded Palestinians for
medical treatment, but that the Palestinians had not submitted a request. He
said 80 wounded had been allowed into Egypt for treatment as well.
The CLA commander said it was possible that Hamas was preventing wounded
from leaving Gaza for medical treatment, but that either way, the health
system in Gaza was "stabilizing" and that there were 2,200 beds available
for the wounded.
"We asked if they wanted to send us more, and they said they were managing,"
Levi said. "In recent years, the hospital system has improved in Gaza, and
today there are hospitals in every district in the Strip."
Levi backed up comments made by Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief
Yuval Diskin that Hamas operatives were conducting operations inside Gaza's
Shifa Hospital and in mosques.
"Hamas uses civilian infrastructure to shoot at us," he said. "They fire
from next to buildings that belong to international organizations and from
within urban centers."
The Palestinian people, he said, understood that Hamas was responsible for
Operation Cast Lead and that Israel had made this clear by launching only
surgical air strikes at Hamas targets.
"The IAF is focused on Hamas installations and Hamas officials who are known
to the Palestinian people," he said. "The Palestinian street knows that our
operations are directed solely against Hamas."