Efforts to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza have intensified

Efforts to get humanitarian aid into Gaza intensified on Wednesday as the European Union stepped up pressure to build a sea corridor from Cyprus to the Palestinian territories and Britain’s foreign secretary warned that Israel’s allies were running out of patience.

While aid groups say all of Gaza is mired in a humanitarian crisis, the situation in the north of the enclave is particularly dire. Many of the 300,000 people left there had to rely on animal food. The United Nations says one in six children there suffers from severe malnutrition.

Amid growing international pressure to de-escalate the situation, two Israeli officials said Wednesday that Israel will begin allowing aid to be sent directly from its territory and will cooperate with the construction of a maritime humanitarian corridor from Cyprus.

One of the officials said Israel would allow 20 to 30 trucks carrying humanitarian aid into northern Gaza from Friday. He said that from Sunday, screening of shipments in Cyprus will also start before sending them to Gaza. One ship will be part of a pilot project to test the feasibility of that route. This assistance is funded by the United Arab Emirates and made possible with US participation.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter with the press.

Aid groups say it is almost impossible to get aid into much of Gaza due to the difficulty of coordination with the Israeli military, ongoing hostilities and the collapse of law and order. Delivering aid to northern Gaza is even more difficult.

Trucks must travel from the Rafah crossing on the border with Egypt or the Kerem Shalom crossing on the border with Israel, in southern Gaza, through the conflict zone to isolated areas in the north.

Last week, an effort by Israeli forces to deliver humanitarian aid ended in tragedy when more than 100 Palestinians were killed in a stampede or in firing by Israeli forces.

On Wednesday, hundreds of people ran to a road parallel to the coast on the outskirts of Gaza City to collect bags of flour, containers of drinking water and canned food donated by Turkey and Egypt and brought by trucks from southern Gaza.

Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary David Cameron told the House of Lords he planned to tell visiting Israeli Minister Benny Gantz on Wednesday that allies are running out of patience with the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

The British minister said, “There is a long list of things that we have asked the Israelis to do, but I have to report to this House that the aid they sent in February was about half of the aid they sent in January “

Meanwhile, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will visit Cyprus on Friday to inspect facilities at the port of Larnaca, from where aid will be sent to Gaza if the sea corridor is approved, Cypriot government spokesman Constantinos Latimbiotis said. .

EU spokesman Eric Mamer said the bloc expected the sea corridor to be opened “very soon”.

The United States, Jordan and other countries concerned about declining access to food have launched airdropped supplies in recent days, but aid groups insist the amount is a fraction of what is needed.


Tia Goldenberg reported from Tel Aviv; Julia Frankl in Jerusalem and Menelaos Hadjikostis in Nicosia, Cyprus.


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