Sunday, August 26, 2007
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
"JERUSALEM, 26 August 2007 (IRIN) - The Israeli ban on deliveries of paper to Gaza is not only threatening to create a shortage of textbooks in the Strip but also shining a spotlight on what constitutes legitimate humanitarian aid.
Israel is allowing in food, medicines and fuel, which it sees as essential aid, but not paper, even though many would see education as a vital sector in need of all the support it can get.
"Some 200,000 children will go into our classrooms on 1 September, and won't have the books they need," John Ging, the Gaza director of UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, told IRIN.
The shortage has emanated from Israel's refusal, so far, to allow five trucks of paper into the impoverished territory, needed to print the textbooks. Since the Hamas takeover of Gaza in June, Israel has clamped down on the borders, bringing imports and exports almost to a halt with the exception of basic humanitarian goods.
The latest development serves as an indicator of the difference of opinion between many aid organisations and Israel on what is considered "humanitarian aid"......"