Responding to Emergencies
13 January 2009
The IDF plans to open more crossing points into Gaza starting on Wednesday, in an effort to vastly increase aid to the civilian population. Until now, food, medical supplies and animal feed have mostly gone in through Kerem Shalom, which was designed as a minor crossing point. The IDF now hopes to open the grain chute at the Karni crossing, a major passage way for goods, to allow for the transport of items such as corn, wheat and animal feed. [...] Separately, the European Union's aid chief blasted Israel's military action in Gaza. "It is evident that Israel does not respect international humanitarian law," EUaid commissioner Louis Michel said. Michel said his remark was based on expert accounts, the number of civilian casualties and the difficulty of getting humanitarian aid to the needy. He told Belgium's La Libre newspaper that Israel's actions were all the more difficult to accept because they come from a democracy. But as he stood at the Kerem Shalom crossing on Tuesday morning, Daly Belgasmi, who heads the regional bureau of the UN's World Food Program that provides assistance to 265,000 Gazans, had more positive things to say about Israel and the Kerem Shalom operation. Behind him, a line of trucks waited at the gate to Kerem Shalom to unload their cargo. "This is a life-line operation for us," Belgasmi said.