Dec 6, 2023 - World

Israeli cabinet approves increasing amount of fuel allowed into Gaza

A fuel truck enters the Gaza Strip via the Rafah crossing with Egypt, hours after the start of a four-day truce in battles between Israel and Palestinian Hamas militants, on November 24, 2023.

A fuel truck enters the Gaza Strip via the Rafah crossing with Egypt on Nov. 24, 2023. Photo: Said Khatib/AFP via Getty Images

The Israeli security cabinet approved increasing the amount of fuel that Israel allows into Gaza, the Israeli Prime Minister's office said on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The decision comes as Israeli Defense Forces push into southern Gaza and fighting intensifies around the city of Khan Younis. The UN humanitarian office warned this week that the dire humanitarian crisis is deepening in Gaza.

  • Israeli officials said the decision was made after strong pressure from the Biden administration.

Details: Israel will allow in "the minimal amount of fuel that is needed to prevent a humanitarian collapse and breakout of disease in southern Gaza," according to the cabinet decision.

  • An Israeli official said Israel will increase the amount of fuel that enters Gaza from 60,000 liters per day to 120,000 liters — the amount that entered Gaza during the 7-day ceasefire that ended on Dec. 1.
  • The cabinet decision said this "minimal amount" will be periodically re-assessed by the war cabinet according to the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
  • Israeli minister for strategic affairs Ron Dermer said in the cabinet meeting that "it is critical" to approve the decision on the fuel supply "in order for the Biden administration to continue giving backing to Israel's military operation in southern Gaza," an Israeli official who attended the meeting told Axios.
  • The U.S. had called for Israel to allow 180,000 liters of fuel into Gaza.

How it happened: Israel's war cabinet met on Monday to consider an increase in fuel but pushed the decision to the larger security cabinet.

  • All security cabinet ministers voted in favor of the resolution except for ultranationalist ministers Itamar Ben Gvir and Betzalel Smotrich who opposed it.
  • Between the lines: The decision effectively moves the authority for making decisions regarding the amount of fuel away from the security cabinet to the smaller war cabinet and as a result neutralizes the ability of Gvir and Smotrichto influence the issue.

The big picture: More than 16,2000 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the war in Gaza, according to the Ministry of Health in Hamas-run enclave.

  • UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who has been calling for a "humanitarian ceasefire," on Wednesday invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter, which allows the Secretary-General to bring to the UN Security Council any matter deemed a threat to "international peace and security."
  • The council is expected to meet on Friday.
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