More than 100 Palestinians were killed trying to get aid

“Northern Gaza is where the IDF began its initial ground invasion in October; Israel targeted Gaza City as a Hamas stronghold. Though much of the population has been displaced to southern Gaza, there are still thousands of civilians in the area, and they have not had adequate aid distribution in around two months, Jeremy Konyndyk, the president of Refugees International, told Vox.
“The biggest obstacle has simply been that the Israeli government has, for the most part, denied aid groups access to that part of the territory,” he told Vox.

The UN organization that is usually in charge of distributing aid to Palestine, UNRWA, cannot operate in the area for safety reasons. And aid workers have said they’ve found trying to work with Israel to get aid into Gaza all but impossible.

After a UNRWA and World Food Program aid convoy “coordinated with the Israelis,” according to Konyndyk, it was fired upon by Israeli troops. “There’s no confidence amongst professional humanitarians that they can actually have safe access into the north and that they won’t be targeted.”

Israel has also accused UNRWA of being in league with Hamas, and that accusation led many countries, including the US, to pause financial contributions to the organization. Aid distribution is challenging and requires significant coordination; without that, it’s easy for a situation in which people are starving and under significant duress to spiral out of control and turn violent.

Such infrastructure once existed in Gaza — via UNRWA and with the cooperation of Hamas civilian police — but that has been devastated by Israeli assaults and, in the case of UNRWA, an effort to undermine the organization.

“The best way to get humanitarian aid into Gaza is to stop the fighting,” Brian Finucane, senior adviser in the US policy program at the International Crisis Group, told Vox in an interview. “Based on reports today, in recent weeks, the breakdown of any sort of order in Gaza is even complicating that further and that Israel itself is contributing [to] that in no small part, including by targeting the police inside Gaza.”

Hagari said during the press conference that a private contractor was coordinating the aid distribution, although he did not name the contractor. Vox reached out to the IDF and to Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) for more information but did not receive a response by press time.

As part of potential ceasefire negotiations, the US is pushing for increased humanitarian access in Gaza, but so far has not backed up that rhetoric with meaningful action like pausing the flow of weapons to Israel or proposing a ceasefire resolution in the UN Security Council. So despite the concerted efforts of diplomats and humanitarian workers, Finucane said, “They don’t have much to work with if the US bottom line is unconditional support for this catastrophic conflict.””

The West is about to hand victory to Hamas

“The obvious place for refugees to go temporarily is across the border into Egypt, where there are vast empty spaces and infrastructure for the United Nations and Egyptian authorities to provide shelter, aid and medical assistance. But the US draft resolution seems to exclude this possibility altogether.
Egypt is understandably fearful of Hamas terrorists and their supporters entering its territory; it already has enough of a threat from like-minded Muslim Brotherhood extremists and the plethora of terrorist gangs that share Hamas’s jihadist ideology.

But the terrain in northern Sinai should allow for measures to mitigate dangers such as these, especially given Egypt’s powerful security forces. Surely, if it were truly standing behind Israel, the US would have found a way to encourage Cairo to play a role here?

It is hard to escape the conclusion that, instead, Joe Biden is no longer committed to Israel finishing Hamas off, largely because of domestic political considerations. And the danger is that what he really wants is not a “temporary” cessation to the fighting, but to impose a “peace” deal that would leave Hamas’s terrorist organisation partially intact and end up solving nothing.

What President Biden and his ilk seem incapable of recognising is that the Israeli people can accept no “solution” to the current conflict that leaves the country in a weaker position to the one that it occupied on October 6.

Indeed, the wider West appears to be forgetting how this war started. Israel did not want the conflict. It was the necessary response to the shocking crimes of October 7, the slaughter of civilians, and the taking of hostages – evil terrorist acts that Israel rightly wants to ensure can never happen again.

If the IDF does not move forward with its plans, Israel knows that it will only be a matter of time before we see another conflict in Gaza, as well as emboldened terrorists in the West Bank and on its northern border. Worse, the terrorists would know that the United States would never allow Israel to truly defeat them.”

The gap between the Biden administration and the Netanyahu government over Gaza’s future is widening

“Biden administration officials are increasingly at odds with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government over how it is conducting its military assault on Hamas and how the two countries envision the political future of Gaza, current and former U.S. officials say.
Amid dire scenes from hospitals in Gaza and a rising civilian death toll, frustration is building among administration officials who have repeatedly appealed to Netanyahu and his government to take more action to protect Palestinian civilians and allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza.

“We are concerned that they aren’t doing everything possible to reduce civilian casualties,” said one administration official. The comments came as Israeli forces moved in on Gaza City’s main hospital, where they said Hamas militants have been operating from an underground command center.

The friction between the two governments is over crucial long-term questions about who will govern the Palestinian enclave after Israel completes its military offensive. That includes the role of the Palestinian Authority — which currently governs the West Bank — and reviving diplomatic efforts for a two-state solution and the establishment of a Palestinian state, current and former officials said.

“There’s a looming gap between the U.S. and Israel on where we’re going to be in a month or two,” one former U.S. official said.

Although the U.S. and Israel have tried to present a united front publicly, the divide was exposed after Netanyahu last week said that Israel would have a security role in Gaza for an indefinite period.

Less than 24 hours later, Secretary of State Antony Blinken pushed back, making it clear the U.S. would not accept any suggestion of a reoccupation of the Gaza Strip or a blockade of the enclave.

The U.S. believes there can be “no reoccupation of Gaza after the conflict, hence, no attempt to blockade or besiege Gaza,” and “no reduction in the territory of Gaza,” Blinken said during a visit to Tokyo.

Blinken also laid out his most detailed vision yet for the future of Gaza, saying it “must include Palestinian-led governance and Gaza unified with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority.”

The Palestinian Authority, which was pushed out of Gaza by its rivals in Hamas, administers semiautonomous areas of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The U.S. and other world powers view the Palestinian Authority, which is internationally recognized but lacks strong popular support, as the only realistic alternative to Hamas, which the U.S. and other Western nations considers a terrorist organization.

Netanyahu, in turn, brushed off Blinken’s proposal, telling NBC News’ “Meet the Press” that Gaza needed to be demilitarized and deradicalized and any Palestinian force including the Palestinian Authority was not up to the job.”