ARAB AND WORLD

Tue 11 Jun 2024 1:36 pm - Jerusalem Time

Relief organizations warn of the difficulty of delivering aid due to the Israeli raids

Humanitarian organizations said they were facing difficulties delivering aid to Gaza amid the looting of their vehicles and disruption caused by Israeli military operations in the Strip, including a surprise raid in the Nuseirat refugee camp on Saturday that led to the rescue of four hostages but which Palestinians said killed hundreds of people.


The Washington Post quoted the World Food Program as saying that it had halted its operations on a US-supported dock in Gaza after the raid on Nuseirat in central Gaza and would not resume them until the United Nations conducted a security assessment, while the head of the World Food Program, Cindy McCain, said in an interview with The Washington Post: “We're reevaluating the safety aspects of where we need to be and what that means for us.” “It (the Israeli raid on Nuseirat camp) has made things much more dangerous. ... People are already hungry; they were already desperate, and now something like this is happening?”


For his part, Pentagon spokesman, General Patrick Ryder, repeated the US military's denial on Monday that it had anything to do with the Israeli operation on Saturday. He added that American leaders intend to continue delivering humanitarian aid via the pier on the Gaza coast as the sea state allows.


The administration of US President Joe Biden announced that the pier was reconnected to the coast last Friday after an unfortunate accident caused by strong waves, which cost more than $22 million to repair the damage to the floating pier. Ryder said 500 tons of aid flowed through on Saturday, but operations were reduced again on Sunday and Monday due to difficult sea conditions.


McCain said WFP operations were already "very difficult" in Rafah, where Israeli military operations in recent weeks had led to "intermittent closures" of roads, causing delays that prompted some people to loot. “[WFP trucks] are being looted because the current conditions of operating the trucks are difficult to deal with,” McCain said.


Scott Anderson, deputy director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), said getting aid into Gaza "remains very difficult." Once inside the area, distribution also becomes chaotic, he told The Washington Post. He pointed out that thefts occurred during the trip from the Kerem Shalom crossing to the warehouses.


While relief organizations are generally able to reach central Gaza, where much of Rafah's displaced population now lives, the number of people there makes transportation difficult. "Everyone is so crowded that it's difficult to move," he said.


He added that UNRWA is “focusing on trying to deliver aid and care for people in our shelters,” which house nearly half of the displaced population. There's also a push to start some education for children in shelters, even if it's limited to an hour a day — "just something to give the kids a sense of routine and get their minds occupied again."


Concerns about the aid came as Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with officials on Monday to discuss a US-backed ceasefire proposal, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo. Speaking with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, “Blinken praised Israel’s readiness to conclude an agreement and stressed that the responsibility for accepting it lies with Hamas,” according to a statement.


After Israel, Blinken will visit Jordan and Qatar, where he will have to address the anger of Arab countries over the operation that took place on Saturday, during which Israeli forces rescued four hostages in Gaza and caused the death of at least 274 Palestinians, according to analysts.


Blinken's visit coincided amid unrest within the Israeli government, as Benny Gantz's departure on Sunday from the war government threatens Netanyahu's grip on power and increases internal political pressure on him to accept a ceasefire proposal that seeks to return the hostages. There are still 120 hostages inside the Gaza Strip, although at least a third of them are believed to be dead, according to statements by the Israeli occupation army.


In Israel, thousands of demonstrators have been taking to the streets for weeks, led by families of hostages and their supporters who fear time is running out for their loved ones who remain in Gaza. One protest group called on Blinken and President Biden to “seal the deal,” saying Netanyahu was undermining the arrangement.


In a live broadcast Sunday night, Gantz criticized Netanyahu for his “empty promises” of “total victory,” instead of focusing on the hostage deal, working on a plan for the day after Gaza and taking action against Lebanese Hezbollah in the north.


The United Nations Security Council, by a vote of 14 to zero, approved a US-sponsored resolution to support the US-backed ceasefire plan in Gaza, while Russia abstained from voting. The Security Council supported a three-stage proposal starting with a six-week ceasefire that would include the release of all women, children, the elderly and wounded hostages. The withdrawal of Israeli forces from populated areas. It aims to subsequently lead to a permanent cessation of violence, the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces, the return of all hostages and taking steps towards a two-state solution.


In a statement, Hamas welcomed what was included in the United Nations resolution regarding a permanent ceasefire, and said that it was ready to cooperate with mediators.


On Monday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the killing of about 300 Palestinian civilians and the wounding of hundreds by Israeli army bullets during the operation to free 4 prisoners in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.

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Relief organizations warn of the difficulty of delivering aid due to the Israeli raids

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