The Hamas terrorist organization turned down two large truckloads of humanitarian aid from Israel on Tuesday. The shipment was intended to relieve medical shortages in the Gaza Strip. This followed the confrontation between Palestinian protesters and Israeli defense forces on Monday along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip. There are reports that as many as 100 persons were killed by Israeli fire. Of these 50 were Hamas militants, according to Hamas, some of whom were armed. According to Israel, 24 of the Palestinians killed were members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Fifty of the casualties were Hamas members, said senior Hamas official Salah Al-Bardawil. Hundreds of Palestinians were wounded.
Hundreds of protesters tried to scale the fence between Gaza and Israel on Monday, which marked the 70th anniversary of the founding of the modern state of Israel and the opening of the American embassy in Jerusalem. Hurling rocks and gasoline bombs, the Palestinians were met with live fire from the Israeli side. Protests continued on Tuesday, following weeks of unrest. The Kerem Shalom goods crossing was firebombed by Palestinians for the third day in a row on May 15, causing $8.3 million in damages.
At the Kerem Shalom crossing, Israeli Defense Forces brought eight trucks full of vital medical equipment and supplies, of which the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip is short. Hospitals there are struggling to treat Palestinians wounded in clashes along the border on Monday and Tuesday. While Hamas accepted two truckloads supplied by the United Nations and four trucks supplied the the Palestinian Authority, two truckloads from the IDF were turned down once their origin became known.
Besides 53 tons of medical equipment that are to be transported into Gaza this week via Kerem Shalom, Israeli humanitarian assistance included 14,000 units of intravenous infusions, 40 medical basins, 20 medical examination couches, 25 infusion stands, 85,000 disinfectant pads, and 12,500 bandages.
The transfer was facilitated by the IDF and Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) and the Gaza District Coordination and Liaison office.
According to the director of Gaza’s Shifa Hospital’s emergency department, Ayman Al-Sahabani, medical supplies are running low. He told Reuters, “We are talking about 25 times the capacity of the emergency department, with all the big challenges and the shortage of medicine and medical supplies that has reached critical levels... A lot of these patients are waiting their turn to enter the operating rooms.”