A handy how-to from Israel's Foreign Affairs Department


Following the confusion (public and private) over Libya’s boat, Israel has published this statement:


Media attention was focused this week on Marwa, a Libyan ship bound for Gaza, which was refused entry by the Israeli navy and is now sitting at dock in Egypt.


Israel has repeatedly made clear the procedures required to transfer humanitarian aid via Gaza. All UN members, including those who do not hold diplomatic relations with Israel (including Libya) are well informed that aid can be transferred one of three ways:


  1. either through the Palestinian customs authority, which then liaises with Israel to arrange permits (incoming goods are first shipped to Ashdod and moved from there by truck convoy to Gaza)
  2. or by addressing relevant UN bodies or partners (WHO, UNRWA, OCHA, ICRC etc) who will in turn apply to the Palestinian customs authority as above. This is generally regarded as a swifter and more effective process as standard procedures are already in place
  3. or by addressing third-party shared-border countries, ie Egypt or Jordan, who also follow similar standard procedures via Palestinian customs to Israel.


Israel intends to transfer humanitarian aid to Gaza on a daily basis. However, as a result of Hamas and other terrorist factions targeting the crossings with constant rocket and mortar fire since 5 November, Israel had no option but to temporarily close crossings.


Although the multilaterally-endorsed ‘period of calm’ is still ongoing, over 200 rockets and mortars have been fired into Israel in the past 4 weeks. One, an Iranian Grad rocket fired in mid-November, injured 8 soldiers. Hamas blames Israel for unannounced incursions into Gaza; however, Israel’s only incursion during this period, met with heavily-armed resistance, was to destroy a tunnel which Hamas admitted was intended for the kidnap of Israeli soldiers.


Israel has maintained a semi-regular supply of humanitarian aid into Gaza, sometimes under direct rocket fire. Israel allows patients to leave the Gaza Strip for medical treatment in Israeli hospitals every day, and supplies Gaza with water and 70% of its electricity.