Families Express Anger Over Government Decision to Allow Aid to Gaza via Egypt
Families express concerns as aid reaches Gaza. Questions arise over aid distribution amidst captivity. Updates on Gaza relief efforts.
Israel has agreed to permit the transfer of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip through Egypt due to United States Pressure, a decision that has drawn sharp criticism from families of Israelis currently held captive by Hamas in the enclave.
The 'Bring Them Home Now' organization, formed to represent the families of those kidnapped, expressed their discontent in a statement, stating, "The decision to allow humanitarian aid to the murderers of Gaza has caused great anger among the family members." They went on to highlight the dire conditions faced by those held captive, including children, women, and the elderly with serious health issues.
Following Hamas's brutal October 7 attack, which saw thousands breach the Israeli security fence and resulted in numerous casualties, Israel had halted the supply of water, medicine, and food to southern Gaza. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office clarified that while humanitarian aid would be allowed, any attempts to deliver aid directly to Hamas would be thwarted.
US President Joe Biden, who recently visited Israel, advocated for the delivery of lifesaving humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza, emphasizing that inspections would ensure aid reaches those in need rather than falling into the hands of Hamas. This call was echoed by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, who agreed to open the Rafah Crossing, enabling the entry of up to 20 trucks of aid.
The United Nations estimates that around 100 trucks of aid per day will be required to rehabilitate Gaza after the recent counter-attacks by Israel. Currently, between 200 and 150 Israelis and dual nationals are believed to be held captive by Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza.
Netanyahu emphasized the importance of the return of captives and called for Red Cross visits to those held captive. He also made it clear that humanitarian assistance, limited to food, water, and medicine for the civilian population in southern Gaza, would be permitted, as long as it does not reach Hamas.
The families represented by the 'Bring Them Home Now' organization have threatened to intensify their efforts if the decision to aid Gaza is not reversed. While this organization does not encompass all families of the hostages, it serves as a primary representative.
US President Biden underscored the need for accountability, stating, "Let me be clear: If Hamas diverts or steals the assistance, they will have demonstrated once again that they have no concern for the welfare of the Palestinian people and it will end."
At the Rafah Crossing, which serves as Gaza's sole connection to Egypt, truckloads of aid await entry. However, the facility's limited capacity, compounded by damaged infrastructure due to Israeli airstrikes, presents logistical challenges.
Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry confirmed an agreement between Egypt, Israel, and other international actors to facilitate aid entry through Rafah, underscoring that the process will be conducted under the supervision of the United Nations and in coordination with the Egyptian and Palestinian branches of the Red Cross. While the exact timeframe for aid delivery remains uncertain, hopes are high for swift assistance to reach the Palestinian enclave.
The families' distress over the decision to allow aid into Gaza via Egypt underscores the complex humanitarian and political challenges in the region. As developments unfold, the focus remains on ensuring aid reaches those in need while preventing exploitation by armed groups.