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Flotilla aid fails to deliver in Gaza

As much as 60 percent of the aid was damaged or otherwise unusable. Some still hasn't been distributed.

Israeli forces approach one of six ships bound for Gaza in the Mediterranean Sea in this May 31, 2010 file photo. Israel's Gaza blockade and its deadly raid on a Turkish-led flotilla bound for the Palestinian enclave last May were legal, an Israeli inquiry commission said on Sunday.

Uriel Sinai/Reuters

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More than seven months after Israel diverted a Gaza-bound "Freedom Flotilla" with lethal force and agreed to help transfer its supplies to Gaza, Israel and Turkey are still haggling over the legality of Israel's intervention. Yesterday an internal Israeli investigation cleared its military of any wrongdoing.

But despite causing such an uproar, the aid meant to help Gazans has yet to be fully distributed – and much of it is too damaged to be used.

Nine activists were killed in Israel's raid on the mainly Turkish flotilla, sparking an international uproar and prompting Israel to allow more goods into Gaza. But while the flotilla succeeding in putting a global spotlight on Gaza's material needs, its ability to meet those needs fell far short.

The aid was initially stored in Israeli Ministry of Defense warehouses. Some of it, such as thousands of tons of cement meant for building schools and hospitals, is still in warehouses. Officials are wrangling over what to use the cement for, and whether it is even usable.

Of the aid that reached Gaza, recipients say 10 to 60 percent was unusable. They accuse Israel of damaging the goods during security checks, or leaving sensitive medical supplies in the elements. The Defense Ministry said that the equipment was "in poor condition upon arrival to Israel."


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