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Preface: According to AIPAC, the Israeli military isn't preventing any aid to Gaza if it belongs to one of 4 catagories "Food, water, medical supplies and shelters".

Instead AIPAC claims that the shortage of food in Gaza is because of faults in Gaza's aid distribution system, as International aid organizations operating inside Gaza aren't distributing the aid effectively.

As an example they claim that "On March 3, the U.N. received 234 trucks in Gaza but only distributed 131 trucks of aid to civilians".

Israel's President Isaac Herzog is being quoted (in the link) as saying “Today it is possible to provide three times the amount of humanitarian aid to Gaza if the U.N. — instead of complaining all day — would do its job”.

According to The Meir Amit Information Center, Israel has tried via international agencies to get Palestinian tribe leaders to take control of the humanitarian aid being ported into Gaza. But the tribes declined to work with Israel, as it would constitute "national treason". In addition, Hamas has threatened to "smash with an iron fist" those who dare to cooporate with such proposals.

The question: In order to disprove the abovementioned - Of all countries accusing Israel for the food shortage in Gaza, have any of them credibly claimed that they wanted to provide food for Gaza, but were prevented by Israel?

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Declined, probably no. Delayed--yes: even the US complained that the flour they sent was delayed by Smotrich. True, Smotrich had a plausible reason: initially the flour was supposed to be distributed by UNRWA, but Smotrich declared them terrorist supporters, so the plan had to changed to use the WFP.

23 Feb

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu privately informed the Biden administration that Israel approved the shipment in early January. The White House announced the development on January 19, as it came under increasing pressure to do more to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

But more than one month later, the flour has yet to enter Gaza.

The shipment arrived at Israel’s Ashdod Port, but Smotrich blocked its transfer to UNRWA, which came under fire last month over allegations that 12 of its staffers participated in the October 7 terror onslaught.

The delay has angered the Biden administration, which has repeatedly noted in recent weeks that Israel is violating the commitments it made to the president.

From the public complaint:

“I wish I could tell you that that flour is moving in, but I can’t do that right now. All I can tell you is that it is absolutely critical as a staple for the Palestinian people, and we’re going to keep working with our Israeli counterparts to see if we can get that port open to that flour,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby says in response to a question on the matter during a press briefing.

So, what happened next? On March 6, the press reports the US flour is still stuck. On March 7, Biden announces the US is sending a floating pier to Gaza. Some of the press speculates this is to "bypass Smotrich", although the pier will take months to arrive. (Those are very slow boats that need to cross the Atlantic.)

On March 12, the Israeli press announces that the flour is moving off the ships in Ashdod. Next day Blinken acknowledges that, in a fairly guarded statement:

We have flour that flowed from Ashdod Port. We’re working to make sure that inspections are accelerated and road repairs move forward, so that we can also increase the flow that’s going from Jordan into Gaza. That’s a critical route for supplies.

So, there’s movement, and we’ve – and it’s positive, but it remains insufficient. Israel still needs to open as many access points as possible and keep them open to make sure that things are flowing in a sustainable way: increase the scanning capacity, the inspection capacity, particularly at Kerem Shalom, where more can be done to get more aid in more quickly; easing unnecessary restrictions on key products; having greater clarity and predictability on what can get in and what can’t.

He adds more about the need to also improve distribution in Gaza.


I know you ask about countries, but UN agencies (other than UNRWA) have also complained of delays in March, e.g. OCHA reporting on WFP deliveries.

During the first two weeks of March, 46 per cent of humanitarian aid missions to northern Gaza (11 out of 24) were facilitated by the Israeli authorities, 21 percent were denied (5), and 33 percent (8) were postponed including one due to access impediments. During the same period, 76 per cent of aid missions to areas south of Wadi Gaza that require coordination (78 out of 103) were facilitated by the Israeli authorities, 15 were denied (14 percent), and ten were postponed or withdrawn (10 percent).

Alas, OCHA doesn't seem to explain though what 'postponed' typically means in this context: a few hours? days? weeks? But Reuters says that

It takes almost a month on average to get a response [from the Israeli authorities], according to minutes of a meeting of aid agencies seen by Reuters.

Aside, animal feed for cows etc., has also been reportedly "blocked for months", according to FAO, seemingly due to other priorities.

And although the WFP had American executive directors for decades now, and they're preferred by Israel relative to UNRWA, the current WFP director seems a bit critical too, in an interview from March 31:

ED O'KEEFE: I read the World Food Program estimates simply addressing the basic food needs will require at least 300 trucks to enter Gaza every day and distribute food, especially in the north, as you mentioned, but you've only managed to get about nine convoys of trucks in since the start of the year. That's nothing, right?

CINDY MCCAIN: It's nothing. It really is. We were able to yesterday, or today I guess it was, get nine trucks in, period. We also were part of an airdrop today that was 6.1 metric tons. That's nothing. We just cannot continue this way. As you know, famine is imminent in the north and so unless we can- can really convince our- our diplomatic groups and our political groups around the world to help convince the Israelis that we must get in and we must do it in a- in a sustained and unfettered- unfettered way. We can't- people are going to die otherwise, and they already are dying.

ED O'KEEFE: When you or your colleagues speak with Israeli officials about getting that access, what is the reason they're giving you why they're not letting you in? Do they not understand the situation? Or is there some other reason?

CINDY MCCAIN: Well, I'm not really sure where the mistake has been made, but I do know that there's been accusations that somehow the U.N. isn't doing their job, which couldn't be further from the truth. So I think again, it's politics. I think it's something that- that we're, you know, various factions are involved in, all I want, all I need to know is when and where we can take the food in, make sure that we can distribute it. That's what I want to know from the Israeli government.

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  • And then "March 6: 2 weeks since new framework okayed for sending flour to Gaza, US shipment still stalled — official" timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/… I'll have to see if there's been anything newer on that. Mar 21 at 20:52
  • Accordingly, the shipment of flour has been discharged from the Ashdod port by March/12 jdn.co.il/news/2158230
    – Jacob3
    Mar 21 at 21:35
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    Perhaps worth noting that Bezalel Smotrich is a person rather than an organization. He is the Minister of Finance and the leader of what is widely regarded as an extremist political party.
    – Henry
    Mar 21 at 23:50
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David Cameron, UK foreign secratary, has accused Israel of blocking aid.

In a blistering letter, the UK foreign secretary said aid was not getting into Gaza owing to “arbitrary denials by the government of Israel and lengthy clearance procedures, including multiple screenings and narrow opening windows in daylight hours”.

And elsewhere in the article (bold is mine):

He wrote: “You cite claims that international donors should send as much aid as they wish and Israel will facilitate its entry. I wish that were the case. It is of enormous frustration that UK aid into Gaza has been routinely held up waiting for Israeli permissions. For instance, I am aware of some UK-funded aid being stuck at the border just under three weeks waiting for approval.

“The main blockers remain arbitrary denials by the government of Israel and lengthy clearance procedures including multiple screenings and narrow opening windows in daylight hours.”

From the article as well:

He also argued one of the key reasons for distribution issues within Gaza was that Israel was preventing the necessary staff from getting visas. He wrote “this needs to change”, and said more than 50 visas were awaiting Israeli approval to allow experienced staff to enter Gaza.

Part of Cameron’s evident frustration is that he and his special envoy for humanitarian affairs in the occupied Palestinian territories feel they have been raising the same checklist of requests since mid-January.

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The EU's Borrel is pretty much saying just that:

Q. We read the reports, we hear you speaking, we listen to the ministers entering the Foreign Affairs Council complaining about the starvation in Gaza. But what the EU can do to literally and actually help the people in Gaza? You invite now the Foreign Minister of Israel; what do you expect from him? Do you want to put some pressure on him in order to stop the situation of starvation or not to attack in Rafah?

(Borrel): So, I understand that, this statement – and other statement – coming also from the US is an expression of the will to put pressure on Israel in order to make them understand that they have to allow more humanitarian support coming into Gaza. But, from our side - maybe others can take other measures - but from our side it is the political and diplomatic pressure on Israel, in order to make them understand that this situation is not acceptable. This is what all political leaders of the European Union have been saying. And today, it was a clear consensus that the situation is not acceptable, and the only solution is to put political pressure on Israel.

The same Borrel who also said:

"Starvation is being used as a war arm and when we condemned this happening in Ukraine, we have to use the same words for what is happening in Gaza."

And, no, it is not just "all the other folks' fault", whatever Herzog wants to claim:

At the Port of Ashdod, some 30 kilometers north of Gaza, Israel has blocked a shipment of United Nations food aid, intended to feed over a million Gazans for a month. Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said Tuesday, February 13, he had issued a directive blocking the 1,049 containers, which mainly contain flour, but also cooking oil, chickpeas, sugar and rice. The UN was set to distribute these supplies in and around the city of Rafah, where more than half of Gaza's inhabitants are caught between the Egyptian border and Israeli infantry.

To address the claim of non-answer: the EU is the largest donor to Gaza and Borrell is High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The EU also arranges deliveries through partner organizations, so too easy to complain about the EU flag not flying on top of things:

The Commission has now contracted €81 million out of the overall humanitarian aid allocation of €125 million and is working on its disbursement to humanitarian partner organisations.

(March 5) US State Dept briefing:

MR MILLER: So I’m not going to – I will let him speak to what he was speaking to. But I will say some of the obstacles that we have seen from the Israeli political establishment: you have seen ministers in the Israeli Government block the release of flour from the port at Ashdod; you have seen ministers of the Israeli Government supporting protests that blocked aid from going in to Kerem Shalom. So all of those things are obstacles coming from ministers inside the Israeli Government that we have called out, that we have said are unacceptable, and that we have said should end.

Between the US and the EU, those are the two major aid donor groups. And, unlike the possibility with some regional actors, pretty much above suspicion when it comes to providing Hamas with smuggled weapons in their aid shipments. Yet, both still complain of foot-dragging.

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