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Pressured by the United States, Israel promises to increase humanitarian aid to Gaza

Israel announced Friday authorize "temporary" aid to the Gaza Strip, besieged and threatened with famine, via the port of Ashdod and the Erez crossing point, the day after a warning unprecedented from its great American partner.

This announcement comes at a time when international pressure is increasing on the Israeli government, with United States President Joe Biden having raised on Thursday for the first time the possibility of conditioning American aid to Israel on “tangible” measures in the face of the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.

Israel's security cabinet approved “immediate measures to increase humanitarian assistance to the civilian population in the Gaza Strip,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said in a statement.

“This increased aid will help avert a humanitarian crisis and is necessary to ensure the continuation of fighting and achieve the objectives of the war,” he added.

According to this press release, Israel will authorize the “temporary” delivery of humanitarian aid through the Israeli port of Ashdod, approximately 40 km north of the strip from Gaza, and through the Erez crossing point, between the Palestinian territory and southern Israel.

The Israeli authorities will also allow “the increase in Jordanian aid through Kerem Shalom”, a border post in southern Israel.

In the midst of a humanitarian tragedy in Gaza, the death on Monday in Israeli strikes of seven workers from the NGO World Central Kitchen (WCK) increased international discontent.

Pressured by the United States, Israel promises to increase humanitarian aid to Gaza

Ambulances carrying remains of foreign aid workers from World Central Kitchen killed in Israeli strike © AFP – SAID KHATIB

The Israeli army admitted a “serious error”.

In an interview with the BBC, John Flickinger, the father of one of the slain aid workers – Canadian-American Jacob Flickinger – said his son and his colleagues “followed all the rules and procedures, which are very strict, that Israel transmitted to them. On the ABC channel, Jacob Flickinger's partner, Sandy Leclerc, said she was “devastated” and demanded “answers”.

– “Quickly and completely” –

The head of American diplomacy Antony Blinken recalled Thursday that “100% of the population needs humanitarian aid” in Gaza. “And those who mobilize heroically to provide this assistance do so at the risk of their lives,” he declared on the sidelines of a NATO ceremony in Brussels.

“This week's horrific attack on World Central Kitchen was not the first of its kind. It must be the last,” he insisted.

Pressured by the United States, Israel promises to increase humanitarian aid to Gaza

Protesters wave Palestinian flags during a demonstration in support of Gaza, in Charlotte, North Carolina, United States, April 4, 2024 © AFP – Allison Joyce

The NGO announced that it was suspending its operations in Gaza, increasing fears for the 2.4 million inhabitants.

Open Arms, the Spanish organization which chartered with WCK the first humanitarian aid boat to arrive in Gaza in March, said on Thursday that it was suspending “the mission in the humanitarian corridor towards the Gaza Strip with World Central Kitchen”, following strikes.

Israel's primary military support, the United States demanded Thursday from its close partner a “spectacular increase” in humanitarian aid in the Strip. Gaza, hoping to see concrete measures taken “in the hours and days to come”.

After the Israeli government's announcement, the White House called on it to hold his promises by implementing them “rapidly and completely”.

Joe Biden, criticized by part of his electorate for his unconditional support for Israel, also pressed Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday to conclude “without delay” an agreement for a ceasefire, while negotiations on an end to violence as well as the release of the hostages is stalling, almost six months after the start of the conflict.

Pressured by the United States, Israel promises to increase humanitarian aid to Gaza

A Palestinian inspects a damaged apartment partially destroyed by an Israeli strike on April 4, 2024 © AFP – MOHAMMED ABED

The war between Israel and Hamas was triggered after the unprecedented attack by commandos of the Palestinian Islamist movement on October 7 in southern Israel. It led to the death of 1,170 people on the Israeli side, the majority of them civilians killed the same day, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli figures.

More than 250 people were kidnapped during the attack and taken as hostages to the Gaza Strip, where 130 remain detained, of whom, according to the Israeli army, 34 died.

– “31 children died of starvation” –

In retaliation, Israel is carrying out military operations in the Palestinian territory, having vowed to annihilate Hamas, which took power there in 2007 and which is considered a terrorist organization by the United States, Israel and the Union. European in particular.

More than 33,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the Gaza Strip since October 7, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health.

The bombings and the ground offensive of the Israeli forces as well as the total siege of the Palestinian territory have caused a humanitarian disaster.

< p>While “31 children in Gaza have died of hunger and dehydration” according to the Palestinian Red Crescent, the UN Security Council is due to hold a meeting on Friday on the risk of famine and the situation of humanitarian workers in Gaza.

Pressured by the United States, Israel promises to increase humanitarian aid to Gaza

Humanitarian aid parachutes are dropped over the besieged Gaza Strip, April 4, 2024 © AFP – JACK GUEZ

On Thursday, Médecins sans frontières (MSF), Oxfam, Médecins du Monde and Save the Children International warned of their near impossibility of working in Gaza. Since the start of the war, nearly 200 humanitarian workers have been killed, according to Christopher Lockyear, secretary general of MSF.

The international community, including traditional supporters of Israel continues to urge it to protect civilians and humanitarian workers in Gaza, against a backdrop of concerns about a ground operation wanted by Benjamin Netanyahu in Rafah (south), where nearly 1.5 million Palestinians are crowded together. displaced by the fighting, according to the UN.

To provide aid, several countries are carrying out airdrops, but this method, risky for the population, cannot replace land routes, insists the UN.

According to a study Thursday by Oxfam, the population of the north of the Gaza Strip survives with “less than 12% average daily calorie needs”.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116