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Palestinian embassy: Turkey to send aid shipment to Gaza during Ramadan

June 9, 2017 5:49 P.M. (Updated: June 11, 2017 8:33 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- A meeting in Ankara on Friday between the Palestinian Ambassador to Turkey Faed Mustafa and Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak revealed that a cargo ship carrying humanitarian aid would arrive in the besieged Gaza Strip before the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

According to a statement released by the Palestinian embassy in Turkey, humanitarian aid would be distributed to Palestinian families in Gaza in order to “lessen their suffering” and help them prepare for Eid al-Fitr, an Islamic holiday that marks the end of Ramadan.

The statement noted that it was Turkey’s third shipment of aid to Gaza since a year ago when Israel and Turkey normalized their relationship and forged an agreement that included Israel’s approval of Turkish aid to reach the blockaded Gaza Strip.

The normalization of relations ended six years of diplomatic strife, which was sparked by an Israeli attack on the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, which led the first Freedom Flotilla aimed at lifting the Israeli-imposed siege on the Gaza Strip.

The deadly attack, in which 10 Turkish activists were killed, sparked international outcry as Israeli naval forces attacked six ships part of the Freedom Flotilla attempting to access the besieged Gaza Strip to deliver much-needed international aid on May 31, 2010.

The Gaza Strip has suffered under an Israeli military blockade since 2007, when Hamas was elected to rule the territory.

Residents of Gaza suffer from high unemployment and poverty rates, as well as the consequences of three devastating wars with Israel since 2008. The UN has warned that unless current trends were altered, the Gaza Strip could become uninhabitable for residents by 2020.

Meanwhile, Mustafa and Kaynak also discussed bilateral relations between Turkey and the occupied Palestinian territory, according to the statement, while Mustafa outlined the “suffering of the Palestinian people” under Israel's half-century military occupation.

Kaynak underscored Turkey’s support for Palestine and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Mustafa also handed Kaynak an official invitation to visit the occupied Palestinian territory, which the deputy prime minister agreed to after Ramadan.
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