A few days before the recent meeting of the quartest, media abounded with stories of the dire medical crisis in Gaza in the West Bank. Hopitals would have to close, patients were not getting dialysis and needed medicine. This terrible public health crisis seems to have evaporated after having the desired effect of pressuring the quartet and Israel to relax sanctions on the Palestinians.
At least, it seems the Hamas led Palestinian government sees no urgent health crisis. Palestinians refused to accept $11 million in frozen funds offered by Israel as medicines.
"In Allah we trust. All others pay cash." Ami Isseroff
Israel offers medicines, PA demands cash
Foreign minister meets with US assistant secretary of state, tells him Israel
sought to aid Palestinians with medications worth NIS 50 million but was
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Wednesday updated US Assistant Secretary of
State David Welch that the Palestinians refused to receive aid in medications
Livni told Welch that Israel sought to transfer to the Palestinian Authority
medications worth NIS 50 million (about USD 11 million), but the Palestinians
asked that the sum be delivered in cash from their tax money.
Israeli defense officials said that "the Palestinians' stance reveals that
there is no real health crisis in the PA and that they are trying to use the
money for other needs."
The affair was exposed by Channel 10. According to the report, the World
Health Organization (WHO) failed to convince the Palestinians to receive the
medications from Israel.
State officials said Wednesday evening that 34 trucks loaded with medications
have entered the Gaza Strip in recent days. The Israel Defense Forces also
enabled the delivery of 119 additional donations through shipping containers
loaded with medications expected to enter the Strip in the near future.
'Palestinians not interested'
Several weeks ago, Israel turned to the Palestinians through the WHO in a bid
to clarify which hospitals were in need of medical equipment and medications
in order to purchase them with the money in its possession.
The decision to purchase the medications and not give the Palestinians money
was made by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who sought to address the PA's
humanitarian problems, but to prevent the transfer of funds to the Hamas-led
government which will use them as it pleases.
WHO representatives recently got back to Israel, saying that the Palestinians
were not interested in receiving the medications. According to the
representatives, the Palestinians are interested in cash for their own needs.
On Wednesday Israel raised it before the US assistant secretary of state, and
the argument remains unresolved.
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