CAIRO: Authorities at the Rafah border crossing prevented some 65 tons of meat donated by the Arab Doctors’ Union from being taken into Gaza Sunday due to spoilage of the meat while being transported.
Health officials at the crossing determined that the meat had become unfit for human consumption due to the inadequacy of its storage and transportation. A security official told the online news portal Masrawy that the Arab Doctors’ Union was responsible for the spoilage.
The meat shipment was intended for Gaza because of the Eid Al-Adha holiday, or feast of sacrifice where cows and lambs are slaughtered and a proportion of the meat handed out to the needy.
Last week, 165 tons of food from the UN World Food Program was transported into Gaza from Al-Oja crossing south of the Rafah crossing which is controlled by Israel on the other side.
Israel insists that only people and medical supplies can pass through the Rafah crossing, with everything else being transported to Gaza having to be sent in through Al-Oja or Karem Abu Salem crossings over which they have direct control.
Gaza has been under a blockade for over two years now, when Hamas took control of the strip form the Palestinian Authority, who now rule the West Bank. Attempts at reconciliation between the two factions have not permanently succeeded since.
The Rafah border crossing is the only entry and exit into Gaza not under direct Israeli control, and is intermittently opened for select purposes and a select number of Gazans to travel through.
The Eid marks the pilgrimage to Mecca, and last week the crossing was opened to allow some 1,000 Palestinian pilgrims to travel onto Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj.
Saudi Arabia was sponsoring the pilgrimage of 2,000 Palestinians – half from Gaza and the other half from the West Bank – who lost members of their families to Israeli strikes.
At the beginning of this month, some 3,000 Palestinians were allowed entry through the Rafah crossing over three days, whether they were students, patients and holders of foreign passports and residency permits.