Israeli defense minister denies humanitarian crisis in Gaza

New reports from an Israeli cabinet meeting earlier this week show Defense Minister Avigdor Lierberman disagreed with claims that the Gaza Strip is experiencing a humanitarian crisis.

Gaza’s health system is collapsing, as 40 percent of its medicine has run out.

Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot had stated in the meeting that it’s in Israel’s interest to keep Gaza disease-free.

Lierberman responded by saying Israel should not assume responsibility, especially because he believes the problems are more diplomatically- and politically-related within Gaza.

He said Hamas is to blame for investing all of its resources in military forces rather than improving the region’s situations.

He also pointed to the Palestinian Authority for laying off and retiring 6,000 public employees in Gaza.

Finally, he said the tensions between Qatar and Hamas are what led to Qatar abandoning its $400 million financing of rehabilitation projects in Gaza. This, he said, is the reason that trucks are not crossing as frequently from Kerem Shalom into Gaza.

Besides, Lieberman pointed out, only Maj. Gen. Yoay Mordechai, who is coordinator of government activities in the territories, is authorized to declare a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and up until this point Mordechai has done no such thing.

Others disagree.

Intelligence Affairs and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, for example, argued that Lieberman’s stance directly helps Hamas.

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