U.S. pressing Israel to allow same levels of aid into Gaza as during ceasefire
Why it matters: Aid groups warn the resumed fighting — especially in southern Gaza where 2 million Palestinians are concentrated — will significantly deepen the humanitarian crisis in the enclave.
Driving the news: As part of the ceasefire agreement, Israel allowed a significant increase in the number of trucks carrying humanitarian aid — about 200 per day — into Gaza. A very limited amount of aid was allowed into the enclave before the ceasefire.
- Israel also allowed four trucks of fuel and four trucks carrying cooking gas to cross into the enclave each day during the pause in fighting.
- After talks on extending the ceasefire collapsed and Hamas resumed its rocket fire toward Israel on Friday morning, the Israeli military stopped the entry of aid trucks and fuel from Egypt into Gaza. Israel also resumed its ground offensive and bombardment of Gaza.
Behind the scenes: Secretary of State Tony Blinken, who was on his way back to the U.S. from the region, called Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer on Friday and stressed that Israel must allow aid into Gaza at the same level it did during the seven-day pause in fighting, a U.S. official said.
- Shortly after the call, Israel allowed about 50 trucks with humanitarian assistance to enter southern Gaza, but it didn't allow fuel into the enclave.
- On Saturday, Israel allowed about 100 aid trucks to enter Gaza, including two trucks with fuel, an Israeli official said.
What they're saying: The U.S. official said the Biden administration is conducting "a full court press" to get Israel to agree to allow the higher levels of aid into the Strip.
- "We want to have the same amount that was going in during the pause as a minimum," the official said.
- Aid groups have said that even the higher amount of assistance allowed into Gaza during the pause in fighting was only a fraction of the needs in the Strip. About 500 aid trucks entered the enclave before the war.
A second Israeli official told reporters in a briefing on Friday that Israel is committed to continuing to allow humanitarian aid to be delivered to the civilian population in Gaza, including trucks with food, water, medicine and fuel.