Karem Abu Salem Crossing Open to Goods, Aid into Gaza

RAFAH, December 14, 2014 (WAFA) – Head of the presidential commission for coordinating the entry of goods into the Gaza Strip, Raed Fatuh, Sunday said that the commercial crossing Karem Abu Salem, south of Gaza, was opened Sunday morning to allow the entry of truckloads of goods and aid into the strip.

He told WAFA that 420 trucks carrying goods for both the agricultural and commercial sectors and aid purposes entered Gaza; of those 51 trucks carrying cement and gravel for international reconstruction projects and 100 trucks carrying gravel for infrastructure work sponsored by Qatar.

Fatuh added that the trucks also carried diesel used to run the power station, which was hit during the latest assault on Gaza, and transportation as well as gasoline and cooking gas.

Karem Abu Salem is the only commercial crossing which is used to bring in goods, aid and fuel for the people of strip.

On October 12, international donors pledged $5.4 billion for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip following a 51-day offensive that left Gaza in need for serious rehabilitation work to resume a normal livelihood for its residents.

According to the United Nations-brokered trilateral agreement on a temporary Gaza reconstruction mechanism, UN employees will supervise the use of the construction material and equipment brought into Gaza to guarantee that they will not be used by Hamas to rebuild what has been destroyed during the offensive.

The first truckload to be brought into Gaza was on October 14; two days after the Cairo conference. Back then, “15 trucks carrying cement, 10 carrying iron and 50 carrying gravel entered the Gaza Strip,” the first time such goods were brought into the battered strip since the ceasefire, said media sources.

Statistics show that around 10,000 homes were completely destroyed while 30,000 homes were partially damaged during the Israeli attack on Gaza.  The damage included Gaza’s power station and main infrastructure.

According to the UN, around 485,000, a quarter of Gaza’s population, have been forced to leave their property, with many returning to either destroyed or damaged homes. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said that as of 15 October, approximately 108,000 Palestinians remain homeless.

Officials in Gaza predict it would take years to reconstruct the strip, as the assault has caused severe loses.