Clinton Pressing Israel to Allow Aid Into Gaza
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is pressuring Israel to stop blocking deliveries of humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza Strip, an Israeli newspaper has reported.
The newspaper Haaretz quoted senior political sources as saying that Clinton will raise this issue during a visit to Israel next Tuesday. US Special Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell will also “issue a sharply worded protest” on the issue when he arrives in the region on Thursday.
"Israel is not making enough effort to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza," the paper quoted senior US officials as telling their Israeli counterparts, "the U.S. expects Israel to meet its commitments on this matter."
Last week, US Senator John Kerry witnessed firsthand the difficulties involved in delivering supplies to Gaza, which has been under an Israeli blockade since June 2007, and is struggling to recover from Israel's devastating three-week war.
While touring Gaza, Kerry learned that truckloads of pasta were prevented from entering the territory and was told by UN officials that Israel lists rice as humanitarian aid but not pasta, the newspaper reported.
Defence Minister Ehud Barak eventually allowed the shipment in following an intervention by Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate who heads the US Senate's Foreign Relations Committee.
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