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March 2, 2024 (EIRNS)—U.S. Central Command announced today that U.S. and Jordanian C-130 transport aircraft “conducted a combined humanitarian assistance airdrop into Gaza on March 2, 2024, between 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. (Gaza time) [GMT+2] to provide essential relief to civilians affected by the ongoing conflict.” It added that “U.S. C-130s dropped over 38,000 meals along the coastline of Gaza allowing for civilian access to the critical aid.”

President Joe Biden announced the plan to airdrop relief supplies into Gaza during a joint press conference yesterday with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. “Innocent lives are on the line and children’s lives are on the line. We should be getting hundreds of trucks in, not just several.” Speaking of the airdrops, Biden added, “we’re going to pull out every stop we can.”

Critics were already panning the plan yesterday before the first flights took off. “Air drops are a bad idea, unlikely to blunt the tragedy in Gaza, and likely to create more risk for the U.S. and civilians in Gaza. The Biden administration senior officials know this risk. Airdrops are a symbol of massive failure,” Dave Harden, who distributed assistance while at the United States Agency for International Development, posted on social media.

A U.S. official, speaking to The Arab Weekly website on condition of anonymity, said the airdrops would have only a limited impact on the suffering of those in Gaza. “It does not deal with the root cause,” the official said, adding that ultimately only opening up land borders could deal with the issue in a serious manner.

“Humanitarian workers always complain that airdrops are good photo opportunities but a lousy way to deliver aid,” Richard Gowan, the International Crisis Group’s UN director, said. Gowan said that the only way to get enough aid was through aid convoys which would follow a truce. “It is arguable that the situation in Gaza is now so bad that any additional supplies will at least alleviate some suffering. But this is at best a temporary band-aid measure,” Gowan added.

“I don’t think the airdropping of food in the Gaza Strip should be the answer today. The real answer is to open the crossing and bring convoys and bring meaningful assistance into the Gaza Strip,” UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini said Feb. 29.

The real answer is stopping the war, as the Resistance News Network, the Telegram channel of the resistance factions in and outside the Palestinian territories, implied in a trenchant comment after the C-130s passed through Gaza’s skies. “As one American plane drops food into Gaza, another plane drops weapons for the IOF (Israeli Occupation Forces) to continue its massacres, siege, and genocide,” it pointed out.