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Israel Hamas WarNewsIsrael

In dramatic pivot, Israel says it will ‘flood’ Gaza with humanitarian aid

The decision comes after intense international pressure with little hope of ceasefire and new intelligence reports that Hamas is far from vanquished.
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A crowd of children with empty dishes

Displaced Palestinians in Gaza collect food donated by a charity before an Iftar meal (AFP/Haaretz)

Published: 14 March 2024

Last updated: 21 March 2024

The decision comes after intense international pressure, in the face of humanitarian crisis, diminishing hope of ceasefire and new intelligence reports that Hamas is far from vanquished.

Israel has promised to “flood” Gaza with humanitarian aid, in a dramatic move which responds to international pressure to alleviate the crisis in the war-torn region.

Israel Defence Forces spokesperson Rear-Admiral Daniel Hagari told media on Wednesday evening that the IDF is working on opening up multiple routes to Gaza by land, sea and air.

The decision comes after intense international pressure on the Netanyahu government.

In his State of the Union address, US president Joe Biden warned Israel that humanitarian aid could not be used as a bargaining chip, and in London UK foreign secretary David Cameron told visiting minister Benny Gantz that Israel needs to do much more to alleviate the hunger in the Gaza Strip. Australia’s foreign minister Penny Wong also warned this week that Israel would lose support if it did not change course.

To enable aid delivery by road, Israel had established a route via Route 96, a new road built by the IDF south of Gaza city. The first delivery occurred on Tuesday night when six trucks of supplies entered Gaza.  

Israel is also promising security support and co-ordination for a raft of international humanitarian initiatives to Gaza, including an aid ship now en route from Cyprus, which is a pilot for a future maritime corridor; a floating pier, which the US plans to build, and future air drops of supplies from the US, Jordan and other countries.

Israel’s move to enable aid comes in the context of a war which shows no sign of ending.

participants are insisting on achieving "victory,"  without being able to explain exactly what would be considered a victory. 

Yossi Melman

A US threat assessment compiled last month but released this week predicted Israel will be challenged by Hamas for years to come.

“Israel probably will face lingering armed resistance from Hamas for years to come, and the military will struggle to neutralise Hamas’s underground infrastructure, which allows insurgents to hide, regain strength and surprise Israeli forces,” the assessment reads, noting the Israeli public “broadly supports” the terror group’s destruction.

The report warned that Israel will face growing international pressure over “the dire humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, and Iranian-backed attacks will jeopardise stability in Lebanon, Iraq, the Gulf and the Red Sea. The risk of escalation into direct interstate conflict, intended or otherwise, remains high.”

There are increasing fears that Gaza could become a never-ending war. Writing in Haaretz, Yossi Melman identified several similarities between the Israel-Hamas conflict and the ongoing Russian offensive in Ukraine.

“In both war zones, the participants are insisting on achieving "victory", without being able to explain exactly what would be considered a victory and how it should be achieved. This is a type of war where there's no difference between the front line and the home front – and the civilians become its victims.

“Ukraine and Israel (except for the occupation of the West Bank) are democratic countries that fell victim to aggression. Russia, which is governed by a tyrant, and Hamas, a terrorist organisation with fundamentalist Islamist leadership, are the aggressors.

“Despite all the differences, all the parties – Ukraine, Hamas, Russia, and Israel – tend to say they're the victims, be self-righteous, and believe that they're entirely justified in their actions and that justice should be obtained at all costs.”


In dramatic pivot, Israel says it will 'flood' Gaza with humanitarian aid

US assessment: Hamas likely to pose armed threat to Israel ‘for years to come’ (Times of Israel)

Israel must change course in Gaza to keep international support, says Australia (Reuters)

Could the invasion of Gaza become a never-ending war? (Yossi Melman, Haaretz)


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