JERUSALEM- Following diplomatic pressure from Israel’s war cabinet to allow diesel to return to the war-torn Palestinian territory, where aid programs are being halted due to severe shortages, the first fuel delivery was made to Gaza on Friday.
The United Nations has issued a warning that as fuel supplies run out, hospitals, drinking water, and sewage systems will be shut down as fighting between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers rages for six weeks.
After receiving a” special request” from Washington, Israel’s war cabinet agreed, according to Tzachi Hanegbi, prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to “provide two tankers of fuel per day.”
According to Hanegbi, the fuel will “operate the sewage and water systems run by UNRWA,” the UN organization for Palestinian refugees.
” We made that choice in order to stop epidemics from spreading. Epidemics that will harm our soldiers or civilians are not necessary. The fighting will end if there are epidemics, he claimed.
The first shipment of 17, 000 liters of fuel entered through the Rafah crossing with Egypt late on Friday, according to a Palestinian border official.
The official stated that it was” for the telecommunications company,” Paltel, to ease a Thursday fuel shortage that would have affected Gaza-wide communications.
According to a senior US official, Israel has been under intense pressure from Washington to lift its fuel embargo and prevent an emergency in Gaza.
According to the agreement, about 70,000 litres will enter each day, but UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths stated on Friday that the region requires 200,000 liters per day.
After Hamas militants surged over the border on October 7 and killed 1, 200 people, mostly civilians, Israel cut off all fuel supplies to Gaza.
The Islamist movement claims that 12, 000 people, mostly civilians, have died as a result of Israel’s ground offensive and bombardment of Hamas in Gaza.
Israel permitted UNRWA’s delivery trucks to receive their first shipment this week, but the organization claimed that drivers lacked the fuel to get to the border and fill their tanks.
Hamas was accused of “exaggerating fuel shortages, especially at the hospitals” by Elad Goren, a spokesman for COGAT, the Israeli defense ministry in charge of Palestinian civilian affairs.
In southern Gaza, where raw sewage began to flow on the streets as pumps shut down, UNRWA reported earlier this week that 70 % of the country’s 2.4 million residents no longer had access to clean water.
Thomas White, the director of UNRWA’s Gaza office, claimed that aid efforts were “being choked of resources to serve people in need.”
Goren, however, asserted that Israel would not restrict the delivery of aid. ” The UN is providing us with a list. The number is not being restricted. 500 trucks will move if they provide us with a list of them tomorrow, he said.