Europeans, US pushing Netanyahu to allow Gaza aid through Israeli port

The idea is to vastly increase the amount of aid, which would come by sea from Cyprus and be transferred via the Kerem Shalom crossing.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The United States and European allies are pressing Israel to agree to send aid to Gazan civilians via the Ashdod port, The New York Times (NYT) reported Monday.

Concerned that there is a growing humanitarian crisis due to bottlenecks at the small Egyptian Rafah and Israeli Kerem Shalom crossings, Washington, London and Brussels are proposing that cargo loads of food, water and other aid be shipped from Cyprus, which is only 386 kilometers (240 miles) away.

Israeli officials have said that the holdups are on the Palestinian side of the crossings, as aid organizations are not managing the logistics and not cooperating as they should to get the truckloads of goods to their proper destinations.

Citing unnamed officials, the NYT report said that the vastly increased amount of aid would still be inspected by Israel to ensure that no military supplies were hidden inside that could benefit Hamas. As Ashdod is only some 16 miles from Gaza, it would then be a short trip to the Kerem Shalom crossing to transfer it to Gaza.

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The long-term goal, said the report, is to stop using the Egyptian crossing altogether. This, however, would again create the situation of the Palestinians being dependent only on Israel for any of its aid, which could cause Jerusalem major political headaches down the road.

One American official told the paper that Secretary of State Antony Blinken had pushed the idea in his most recent meetings with Israeli officials in Jerusalem.

In a possible sign that the pressure was working, the White House stated in a readout of the latest call between President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Friday that “The President welcomed the decision from the Government of Israel to permit the shipment of flour for the Palestinian people directly through Ashdod port.”

Although an Israeli official told the New York daily that the security cabinet had given its OK, no official word has come from Jerusalem on this decision, and the Prime Minister’s Office had “declined to comment,” the paper said.

The readout added that their teams are also “work[ing] on options for more direct maritime delivery of assistance into Gaza.”

The government may be keeping quiet because it knows that many Israelis are furious that aid is being allowed into Gaza during the war.

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A major reason is the issue of Hamas stealing incoming food, water, and most especially, fuel, which runs generators supplying electricity and air to their tunnels and powers the rockets that the terror organization is still launching indiscriminately into Israel. This is simply prolonging the war, critics say, thereby raising the death toll of IDF soldiers as well as adding to Gazan civilians’ misery.

Gazans have already complained about the thefts, with online video clips of Hamas men taking over aid trucks and shooting at civilians to keep them away backing up their claims.

Another reason to deny aid, according to their view, is that an artificial dichotomy has been made between ordinary Gazans and Hamas fighters. The civilian population voted Hamas into office and supports its genocidal, antisemitic philosophy, so it is as much of an enemy of Israel as Hamas is.

No other country at war provides its opponent with the ability to keep fighting, they say, which in legal terms is considered “providing aid and comfort to the enemy” and perhaps could even be defined as a treasonous offense.