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US Official Explains Israel's Blocking of Humanitarian Supplies

The US’s special Middle East envoy for humanitarian issues David Satterfield told the Carnegie Endowment for Peace on Feb. 16 that Israel was blocking humanitarian supplies to Gaza. This included a reckless disregard on their part for what it takes to deliver the supplies. He explained that the killings of local police in Gaza by Israeli airstrikes have made it “virtually impossible” to safely deliver humanitarian supplies. Without the police, the security escorts for the aid trucks are stripped down or stripped bare, making it easy for criminal gangs to target the cargoes. He knew that, in one case, an airstrike hit the commander of the units that provided security for the trucks.

Further, he explained that regular Israeli protests at crossing points by those opposed to aid going into Gaza have delayed aid. And desperate Gazans, including children, often try to stop the aid trucks to grab supplies. These recent disruptions to aid deliveries have increased the value of supplies on the black market, creating greater incentive for criminal gangs to steal them. He added that Israel has provided no “specific evidence of diversion or theft,” despite their persistent claims that it is Hamas grabbing the shipments.

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