GAZA, July 1 (UPI) -- Cargo that a humanitarian aid flotilla tried to deliver a month ago with deadly results began arriving in Gaza by land this week, diplomatic officials said.
Medical supplies and devices, building materials, food and clothing that were being ferried to Gaza when Israeli commandos stormed the flotilla and killed nine people in the process was trucked to the strip through the Karni Crossing in a 128-vehicle convoy Wednesday, The New York Times reported Thursday.
The cargo had been stored in Israel for weeks while Hamas officials, the Israeli military and international aid agencies determined what to do with it.
Israel wanted to allow in only materials that it was certain Hamas couldn't turn into weapons and didn't want the flotilla sponsor, a Turkish Islamic charity, to distribute the goods because of what Israel said were the organization's close ties to Hamas. For its part, Hamas said it wanted all the aid or nothing. Eventually, it was agreed that the United Nations would distribute the goods.
George Mitchell, the U.S. envoy to the Middle East, watched the process from the Israeli side of the crossing, the Times said.
"We appreciate the changes that have been made," Mitchell said of Israel's decision to ease its blockade following the flotilla raid and the international criticism Israel received afterward. "There has been a great deal of progress in terms of permitting additional goods into Gaza."
Mitchell said the United States would work with Israel on "further steps that will be taken in the near future."