Following Netanyahu’s meetings with Biden, Israel eases siege on Gaza

Reneging on stance that captives must be released before conditions in Gaza eased, Israel allows humanitarian aid in the Hamas-ruled enclave – under pressure from Biden.

By World Israel News Staff

The Israeli government voted Wednesday evening to allow humanitarian aid into the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, despite the continued captivity of hundreds of Israeli civilians and soldiers.

The Prime Minister’s Office released a statement Wednesday evening, announcing that the Security Cabinet voted unanimously back three policies vis-a-vis American demands that humanitarian aid be allowed into the Gaza Strip:

1. Israel will not allow any humanitarian assistance from its territory to the Gaza Strip as long as our captives are not returned.

2. Israel demands Red Cross visits with our captives and is working to mobilize broad international support for this demand.

3. In light of President Biden’s request, Israel will not prevent humanitarian assistance from Egypt as long as it is only food, water and medicine for the civilian population located in the southern Gaza Strip or which is evacuating to there, and as long as these supplies do not reach Hamas. Any supplies that reach Hamas – will be prevented.

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The Prime Minister’s Office offered no details on how Israel could prevent aid sent to the Strip from being diverted to Hamas, the de facto government of the coastal enclave.

The Security Cabinet vote was held following a meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Biden, and a second, expanded meeting attended by senior U.S. and Israeli officials.

Israel already resumed water transfers to the southern Gaza Strip, at the behest of the Biden administration.

Last Sunday, Israel imposed a total siege on the Gaza Strip, ending transfers of water, electricity, and fuel, and barring Egypt from allowing the transfer of aid via the Rafah crossing in southern Gaza.

At the time, the Israeli government demanded that Hamas release all Israelis held in captivity before any humanitarian aid was allowed into the Strip.

The IDF has since confirmed that at least 199 Israelis are being held captive in Gaza, while Hamas has claimed it is holding roughly 250 Israelis hostage.