Despite escalation of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip in March, the IDF continued its efforts to aid Gaza’s civilian population.
In the month of March, terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, led by Hamas, fired more than 90 rockets and mortar shells towards southern Israel. Despite the escalation, the IDF continued to transfer medical and humanitarian aid to the residents of the Gaza Strip.
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), through the Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration, permitted the entry of 3,656 trucks carrying goods (mainly food and medical supplies) to the Gaza Strip in March via the Kerem Shalom border crossing.
Additionally, the IDF and the Defense Ministry Crossing Authority, in conjunction with the Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration, allowed an additional 1,100 trucks carrying aggregates to enter Gaza via the Sufa crossing, which was opened specifically for this purpose, despite the many security risks involved. Within the framework of this project, more than 50,000 tons of aggregates and gravel were brought to Gaza in order to expand, upgrade and establish construction projects carried out by the international community in the fields of education, health, housing and infrastructure.
During the first quarter of 2011, more than three times the amount of aggregates entered Gaza than the total amount that entered in all of 2010. It should be noted that the Sufa crossing, located in a vulnerable spot from a security standpoint due to its low geographic position in relation to the homes in the eastern part of Khan Younis, has suffered from terrorist attacks carried out by Hamas.
Despite the security threats, and in light of the needs of the international community and the civilian population of the Gaza Strip, it was decided to continue the aggregates transfer operation despite the dramatic escalation of rocket fire from Gaza into Israel.
Israel will continue to act to thwart any attempts to harm its citizens while at the same time continuing humanitarian efforts to aid the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.