Turkish Aid Bound for Gaza Arrives in Ashdod, Gaza Ready to Receive It

The aid — consisting of flour, rice, sugar, food packages and toys — arrived in the Israeli port of Ashdod aboard the Lady Leyla on Sunday afternoon, Anadolu Agency reported.

Preparations have been made to receive the 11,000 tons of aid that was delivered by ship from Turkey earlier Sunday, authorities said.

“The aid may arrive at the Gaza Strip on Monday through the Kerem Shalom border crossing,” the Social Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said once the supplies are delivered by the Turkish Red Crescent they would be swiftly distributed across the enclave.
In the same context, Israeli demonstrators on Saturday reportedly attempted to block the delivery of aid to the besieged Gaza Strip from the Turkish cargo ship Lady Leila, which docked at Israel’s Ashdod port earlier that morning.

According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the families of Israeli soldiers whose slain bodies are being held by Hamas or who are believed to be missing inside the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, staged a protest at the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and the blockaded territory, aiming to prevent the aid from passing through.

Turkey’s humanitarian aid delivery followed an agreement made with Israel on Sunday to normalize diplomatic relations between the two nations, ending a six-year standoff sparked by the 2010 Israeli attack on a Turkish aid ship attempting to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip which resulted in the death of ten Turkish activists.


The shipment, which contained some 11,000 tons of supplies, including 10,000 toys and 10,000 packages of food, embarked from Turkey’s southern port of Mersin on Friday.

A Palestinian border official, speaking on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, said the first aid truck was expected Monday. “We have finished all the arrangements to receive the Turkish aid,” the official said.

He added that a Turkish delegation inspected the method of transferring the aid through Kerem Shalom, Gaza’s only working commercial crossing, on Saturday evening.

The ship set sail Friday following a reconciliation deal between Turkey and Israel after a six-year hiatus.

In a press conference following the finalization of the deal, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim claimed that Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip had been “largely lifted,” a statement met with shock by those disappointed that Turkey had conceded on pressuring Israel to fully lift the blockade after years of warnings and threats.
Many reacted to the deal by saying it was proof that the Turkish government’s vehement opposition to the Israeli blockade had been a disingenuous diplomatic tactic to gain support in the region.
Diplomatic ties between the countries were suspended after Israeli troops stormed the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara aid ship in international waters in May 2010, killing 10 Turkish activists.
The Gaza Strip has suffered under an Israeli military blockade since 2007, when Hamas was elected to rule the territory.
Residents of Gaza suffer from high unemployment and poverty rates, as well as the consequences of three devastating wars with Israel since 2008.
The UN has warned that unless current trends were altered, the Gaza Strip could become uninhabitable for residents in fewer than five years.
“The social, health and security-related ramifications of the high population density and overcrowding are among the factors that may render Gaza unlivable by 2020,” the UN’s development agency said in 2015.