Eighty Truckloads

How far does Israel go in maintaining humanitarian standards that no other country would duplicate during armed conflict?

Here's one answer: On Nov. 18, while Tel Aviv and other population centers were under rocket attacks, Israel transferred 80 truckloads of food and medical equipment into Gaza, according to an official announcement. Israeli border personnel facilitated transfer of the convoys at great risk to themselves. The crossings have come under repeated attacks by Hamas.

At the Keren Shalom border crossing, 64 truckloads of food entered Gaza, plus another 16 truckloads of vital medical equipment, including medicines, anesthetics and disposal medical items.

At another border crossing, the Erez Terminal, 26 Gaza patients and their escorts entered Israel in order to receive medical treatment of the highest order. In the past, Palestinian patients from Gaza were at times in surgery wards in Israeli hospitals amidst rocket fire.

Israel worked with the Palestinian Authority and members of the international community to facilitate these humanitarian transfers.

In a government statement following the transfers, authorities said that "while Israel is committed to providing continued assistance, it is subjected to the limitations created by continuous rocket fire and attacks on the part of Hamas and other extremist groups in Gaza. Rockets endanger the staff manning the crossings and often hinder or prevent the transfer of goods.

"The IDF will continue to take measures to thwart terrorist attacks emanating from the Gaza Strip, while distinguishing between the terrorists and uninvolved civilians." Mainstream media aren't likely to give prominent coverage to this humanitarian event. It doesn't fit their agenda.

Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers.

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