Adjust size of text


Follow us and continue the conversation

Your saved articles

You haven't saved any articles

What are you looking for?

New international efforts to get humanitarian aid to Gaza

A maritime corridor, a temporary pier, resuming aid through UNRWA: all avenues are being explored as Israel seeks to dismantle the UN aid agency because of Hamas infiltration.
TJI Wrap
Print this
children and bowls of food

Displaced Palestinians in Rafah collect donated food (MOHAMMED ABED/AFP via Getty Images)

Published: 12 March 2024

Last updated: 21 March 2024

A maritime corridor, a temporary pier, resuming aid through UNRWA: all avenues are being explored as Israel seeks to dismantle the UN aid agency because of Hamas infiltration.

US President Joe Biden is launching an emergency mission to establish a temporary pier on the Gaza coast to deliver humanitarian aid.

The plan, announced in the State of the Union address, is one of several avenues being explored as the international community becomes increasingly concerned about the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

The United Nations Human Rights Office says 1.9 million people have been displaced out of a population of 2.3 million and there is massive scarcity of food, water, medicines, tents and other necessities.

Israel is pressing ahead with plans to invade Rafah, the last relatively safe place for civilians in Gaza. Biden this week described Rafah as a “red line” for the US. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded that his “red line” was to ensure October 7 never happens again.

The Biden plan could deliver two million meals a day to Gaza, but US authorities say a pier will take at least a month, maybe two, to build.

A new maritime corridor transporting aid from Cyprus to Gaza is close to beginning operation, in an initiative of the European Union, the US and the UAE.

A trial run of food aid is planned for this Friday and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the corridor could be operational by next weekend.

Jordan and the US have begun air drops of food, but air drops are an inefficient way to supply aid, delivering low volume at high cost and with no guarantee supplies will reach those most in need.

Delivering aid safely is also a problem. Five people died this week when an air drop parachute failed to open. The incident follows the deaths of at least 115 Palestinians last week in a stampede to reach humanitarian aid.

UN officials say land routes should be the priority for aid delivery as they provide most aid at lowest cost, but aid agencies have accused Israel of blocking land routes for aid vehicles.

Michael Fakhri, a UN special rapporteur on the right to food, told reporters in Geneva that it was "absurd" that Washington was discussing complicated new routes to reach a territory blockaded by its own ally.

Israel denies blocking aid to Gaza but it is directly acting against UNRWA, the UN's agency for Palestinian refugees and the primary route for humanitarian aid until now.

Israel has presented evidence that UNRWA is riddled with Hamas, including terrorists who participated in the October 7 massacre, which sparked the current conflict.

The Israeli army presented a plan on Monday for the full dismantling of UNRWA in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, arguing UNRWA must be removed to undermine Hamas' civilian rule in Gaza. Israel has frozen UNRWA's accounts, is refusing to transfer goods to UNRWA from its territory and is blocking residency visas for UNRWA employees.

More than a dozen countries stopped aid through UNRWA after Israel provided evidence of Hamas infiltration but there is increasing pressure to resume using UNRWA if no other organisation has the capacity to deliver substantial aid.

The European Union, Sweden and Canada have resumed aid through UNRWA. Australia, the United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand and Germany are among those that have yet to do so.

“Australia cannot be involved in funding organisations that have members involved in terrorist activities,” Assistant Defence Minister Matt Thistlethwaite told Sky News on Monday.

“So, there’s an investigation going on into that and we’ll make a decision once that investigation is completed. We need to see what the outcome of the investigation is. The Australian people, taxpayers, expect that if we are going to be funding aid organisations that that funding is used for the purposes for which that aid organisation was established.”

Foreign minister Penny Wong has recently stressed that successive Australian governments have funded UNRWA “because it is the only organisation which delivers the sort of assistance and substantive support into the occupied Palestinian territories within the international system”.

Biden directly addressed Israel during his State of the Union address, emphasising that two states was the only solution to the conflict and the only guarantee of Israel’s democracy and security.

"To the leadership of Israel, I say this: Humanitarian assistance cannot be a secondary consideration or a bargaining chip. Protecting and saving innocent lives has to be a priority," he said.


Biden sends sharp message to Israel during state of the union: Don't use Gaza aid as bargaining chip (Haaretz)

Biden says Netanyahu ‘hurting Israel more than he’s helping (Times of Israel)

Netanyahu hits back at Biden: 'He's wrong' if he meant my policies are hurting Israel (Haaretz)  

Israel moves to dismantle UNRWA without replacement body to manage aid for Palestinians in Gaza (Haaretz)

The US is dropping aid into Gaza. Here’s why that will do little to ease a humanitarian crisis (CNN)

‘Irresponsible’: Government faces backlash over UNRWA funding (SMH)

Australia working to resume UNRWA funding after October 7 allegations (SMH)

'No single loaf of bread': These Israeli protesters are trying to prevent aid from going into Gaza (CNN)

Leading NGOs slam Israel’s halt in visa renewals for aid workers in Gaza and West Bank (AP)


‘Right time’: J Street, Reconstructionist movement join liberal Zionist call for ceasefire (Forward)
The call, made in a letter to President Joe Biden, marks a shift in rhetoric from liberal pro-Israel groups.

Qatar poised to expel Hamas from Doha amid stalled deal negotiations (Ynet)
The Wall Street Journal based their report on sources from both Hamas and Egypt, suggesting the stance of the leader of the organization in the Gaza Strip, who insists on ending the war, is at odds with the views of other high-ranking members of the movement.


No comments on this article yet. Be the first to add your thoughts.

The Jewish Independent acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of Country throughout Australia. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and strive to honour their rich history of storytelling in our work and mission.

Enter site