Israel will allow a daily shipment of fuel to cross over from Egypt into southern Gaza, making the concession after more than a month of blocking access to large amounts of the critical energy source and appearing to bend to U.S. pressure to help besieged Palestinians in the coastal strip.
Israeli officials convened a war cabinet on Thursday and approved two tanker trucks with fuel to enter Gaza each day. Those trucks can be directed to water and sewage systems, according to Tzachi Hanegbi, director of the national security council in Israel.
Hanegbi said the decision was made to “prevent the spread of diseases” in the Gaza Strip and in response to a request from U.S. officials on the issue.
“We don’t currently need epidemics that will harm civilians there or our soldiers,” Hanegbi said in a statement. “If there is an epidemic, the fighting will be stopped. If there is a humanitarian crisis and an international outcry, we will not be able to continue the fighting under those conditions.”
The fuel is expected to assist with the operations of the United Nations Palestinian refugee agency, which has struggled to obtain the resource and use it to help civilians.
Earlier this week, Israel began allowing some fuel to cross into Gaza, specifically to UN groups, but they have complained of being forced to beg for fuel.
The amount of fuel approved for entering Gaza is still far less than what was coming into the strip before the war. The U.S. has pressured Israel to help Palestinian civilians more, even as it supports the Israeli campaign in its war to destroy Hamas.
Palestinians in Gaza have struggled to secure basic necessities such as fuel since a deadly Oct. 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel that killed at least 1,200 people.
Until Thursday’s decision, Israel had refused to allow any fuel shipments into Gaza since the war began, claiming Hamas could hijack it.
The lack of fuel in Gaza has forced communications systems to go dark and hospitals have also struggled to keep the lights on, raising concerns from humanitarian groups.
Go to Source
Author: Brad Dress