JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel has agreed to allow Turkish trucks carrying construction materials into the Gaza Strip for the construction of a hospital.
The Turkish Hurriyet Daily News reported Monday that the construction of the Turkish-Palestine Friendship Hospital, which it called "the most symbolic Turkish humanitarian assistance to date for the people of Palestine," will be complete within the year. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to attend its official opening.
The hospital will have 150 beds, making it the largest hospital in Gaza and Ramallah.
Israel’s permission to bring in the construction materials came "as part of Israel’s decision to soften its embargo over Gaza," the newspaper wrote. It also noted that easing the blockade on goods allowed to enter Gaza is part of Turkey’s conditions for normalizing relations with Israel, which have been on hold since Israel’s raid of the Mavi Marmara, a ship attempting to break the naval blockade of Gaza. Nine Turkish citizens were killed in the ensuing violence.
Turkey also has demanded that Israel apologize for the raid and compensate the families of those killed.