The Logistics Section of SIBAT (Foreign Defense Assistance and Defense Export Department of the Israel Ministry of Defense), together with COGAT (Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories), are responsible for transferring humanitarian aid to Gaza. They handled the transfer of the equipment that arrived on the flotilla ships from Ashdod Port to the Defense Ministry’s humanitarian aid base in Zrifin, which now await Hamas permission for transfer into the Gaza Strip.
Of the seven flotilla ships, only four were freight ships. The Challenger 1 (small yacht), the Sfendonh (small passenger boat) and the Mavi Marmara (passenger ship) did not carry any humanitarian aid, except for the passengers’ personal belongings. Of the four freight ships – Gaza, Sofia, Defeny and Rachel Corrie – as of June 7, SIBAT had only offloaded equipment from the Defeny.
As of June 7, the equipment offloaded was loaded onto 26 trucks. (An additional eight trucks are waiting at the Kerem Shalom crossing to enter the Gaza Strip.) The equipment includes:
1. 300 wheelchairs
2. 300 new mobility scooters
3. 100 special mobility scooters for the disabled
4. Hundreds of crutches
5. 250 hospital beds
6. 50 sofas
7. Four tons of medicine
8. 20 tons of clothing, carpets, school bags, cloth and shoes
9. Various hospital equipment – closets and cabinets, operating theater equipment, etc.
10. Playground equipment
The equipment remaining at Ashdod Port on the three ships which have not been offloaded include some 2000 tons of construction equipment – building materials and tools, and construction waste (rubble, toilets, sinks and cement) for re-use.
It should be noted that:
1. The equipment does not constitute humanitarian aid in the accepted sense (basic foodstuffs, new and functional equipment, fresh medicines).
2. The equipment awaiting entry into the Gaza Strip, both at the Kerem Shalom crossing and the Defense Ministry base, has been approved by COGAT.
3. The humanitarian aid on all the ships was scattered in the ships’ holds and thrown onto piles and not packed properly for transport. The equipment was not packaged and not properly placed on wooden bases.
4. Because of the improper packing, some of the equipment was crushed by the weight in transit.
5. The medicines and sensitive equipment (operating theater equipment, new clothing, etc.) are being kept in cool storage at the Defense Ministry base. Some of the medicines have already expired, and some will expire soon. The operating theater equipment, which should be kept sterile, was carelessly wrapped.
6. A large part of the equipment, particularly shoes and clothing, was used and worn.
7. The construction material must be approved by COGAT and the political echelons before it can be transferred to the Gaza Strip.
Photo By Israel Defense Forces (Flotilla Humanitarian Cargo Loaded Unto Trucks) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons