For the 2nd time since the Reconciliation Agreement with Turkey, a vessel carrying more than 3,000 tons of humanitarian aid is set to dock at Ashdod Port for a preliminary security inspection, before being trucked to Gaza.
A ship transporting humanitarian aid left the Turkish port of Mersin for the Gaza Strip on Friday, the second such shipment since the reconciliation deal between Israel and Turkey was struck in June, Haaretz reports.
The ship is headed for the Israeli port of Ashdod, where it will unload and its cargo — which includes food packages — loaded onto trucks and driven to the Strip via Erez Crossing.
The goods are expected to get to Gaza before Eid al-Adha, according to a senior official at Turkey’s Presidential Palace, cited by Haaretz. Included in the shipment are 1,000 bicycles to be given to children in the Gaza Strip as holiday gifts, the official said.
Turkey is permitted to send aid to Gaza under the terms of the reconciliation deal, which followed six years of frozen diplomatic ties between Israel and Ankara after an Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara flotilla to Gaza ended with the deaths of nine activists, with a tenth dying three years later from his injuries.
The first aid shipment arrived in Ashdod in July, according to Haaretz.
The shipments have been criticized in some quarters in Israel due to the fact that Hamas is holding the bodies of several Israeli soldiers. The families of the fallen soldiers have slammed the Israeli government for permitting humanitarian aid to enter Gaza without addressing the issue of the return of their relatives’ remains, Haaretz reports.
Turkey issued a “letter of goodwill,” separate from the reconciliation deal itself, in which it pledged to negotiate with Hamas for the soldiers’ bodies to be returned.
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