Ankara's humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip suffering from an Israeli blockade continues with a new batch of aid to Palestinian children. Clothes and shoes for children were delivered to families yesterday. Yousef Ibrahim, a senior official at Gaza's ministry of social affairs who oversaw the delivery of the aid, said some 10,000 children benefited from the delivery at the Nusairat refugee camp in southern Gaza. Parents, accompanied by children, picked up clothes and shoes from stalls set up at the camp.
Ibrahim said they were grateful to Turkey for the aid that "lessened the troubles of Palestinians a bit" and said such aid items and toys help Gazan children's "rehabilitation" after the Israeli offensives that left the city heavily damaged and killed hundreds.
Approximately 150,000 people have benefited from Turkey's humanitarian aid and Ibrahim said this number will rise to 200,000 soon with the delivery of more aid.
The delivery was part of the shipment from the Eclipse, the second aid ship Turkey sent to Israel in the past four months. The Eclipse anchored at the port of Ashdod last month before the aid was transferred to the Gaza enclave by trucks. The ship carried some 2,500 tons of humanitarian aid.
Turkey sent their first ship, Lady Leyla, carrying about 11 tons of humanitarian aid, on July 3 for immediate humanitarian needs such as rice, flour and sugar along with extra cargo of toys, clothes and shoes.
The aid follows Turkey and Israel's reconciliation talks to restore their strained relations. The two countries recently concluded a deal to this extent, and in dispatching the aid vessel, Turkey's first step after the deal was a clear show that it has not turned its back on Palestinians despite the normalization of relations with the Israelis.
Apart from delivering humanitarian aid, Turkey will carry out projects to rebuild Gaza and improve the lives of thousands who have suffered from Israel's attacks in the territory. They include the construction of residential buildings and a 200-bed Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital. Turkey recently unveiled a $13 million project to build 320 housing units in the Gaza Strip for Palestinians whose houses were demolished in the 2014 Israeli military offensive.
Since 2007, the Gaza Strip has suffered a joint Israeli-Egyptian blockade that has deprived the enclave's roughly 1.9 million inhabitants of their most basic needs, especially food, fuel, medicine and construction supplies. The Gaza Strip largely depends on foreign aid as the economy stalled under the Israeli blockade.