By Duygu Yener
ANKARA (AA) – A protocol has been signed on Wednesday between Turkish and Palestinian health ministries to jointly operate a 180-bed hospital in the besieged Gaza Strip.
The protocol was inked by Health Minister Ahmet Demircan and his Palestinian counterpart Jawad Awwad in the capital Ankara.
The Gaza Palestine-Turkey Friendship Hospital built by the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) will be operated by the two ministries for three years.
Opening such a hospital will “meet an important need” in Gaza, where humanitarian aid, medicine, and medical tools are blocked due to the Israeli blockade, Demircan said.
After the three-year period, a separate protocol will be signed to hand over the administration of the hospital to Palestine, he added.
Awwad said that Palestinian people have been going through a difficult period. “Our people will continue their struggle.”
“No decision is our concern,” he said, referring to the U.S. relocating its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
“The Republic of Turkey is always with us in terms of materially, morally, politically and economically. We can take a breath thanks to Turkey,” the Palestinian minister said.
Tension has mounted in the Palestinian territories since last December when U.S. President Donald Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
On May 14, the U.S. relocated its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, drawing condemnation from across the Arab and Muslim world and further inflaming passions in the Palestinian territories.
Since March 30, at least 118 Palestinians have been killed — and thousands more injured — by Israeli army gunfire in the eastern Gaza Strip.