Israeli settlers have blocked trucks carrying humanitarian supplies to Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip, demanding that no aid be allowed to enter the enclave as long as 132 Israelis held as prisoners of war remain in Gaza.
Dozens of extremist settlers gathered at the exit of Ashdod port, north of the Gaza Strip and stopped trucks departing, asked for the drivers’ documents and verified their load and destination, despite the presence of Israel Police.
Sharon, a Jewish resident of Jerusalem who preferred not to reveal his surname, said: “I came to stop the trucks carrying oxygen to Hamas in the Gaza Strip. For us, all the residents of Gaza are terrorists.”
“Britain and the United States acted without mercy when they bombed Iraq and Afghanistan, despite human rights and relief organisations warning of a humanitarian catastrophe. We came to Israel, to the land that the Torah promised us, to live in justice, and these people are shooting at us… Islam hates us, and now is the time to pay the price,” he continued.
Asked if he would live in the Gaza Strip if Israel established illegal Jewish settlements there, Sharon said he would do it “happily”, adding: “We would be very happy if settlements were established in Gaza. They are not settlements. Gaza was a Jewish city 2,500 years ago.”
According to a poll conducted by the Hebrew Channel 12, 72 per cent of Israelis oppose “sending humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip without returning Israeli captives.”
The Ministry of Social Development in the Palestinian Authority said yesterday that “the percentage of aid entering the Gaza Strip covers no more than 20 per cent of the population’s basic needs.” While the UN and other rights groups have warned that civilians in Gaza face famine and starvation.
Experts have pointed out that this is an Israeli tactic to force Palestinians out of the enclave to return Israeli settlements to it and cleanse it of its indigenous population.