Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Israel announces a “tactical truce” in the southern Gaza Strip to allow more aid


JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military announced Sunday that it would halt fighting during all daylight hours along a road in the southern Gaza Strip to free backlogged stockpiles of aid. Humanitarian aid The shipments were intended for desperate Palestinians suffering from a humanitarian crisis due to the war, which has now entered its ninth month.

The “tactical ceasefire” announced by the army, which applies to about 12 kilometers (7.4 miles) of roads in the Rafah area, falls far short of the complete ceasefire in the besieged area sought by the international community. Including the United States, Israel’s largest ally. If sustained, a limited cessation of fighting could help address some of the Palestinians’ enormous needs, which have increased further in recent weeks with the Israeli incursion into Rafah.

The army said that the truce will begin at 8 a.m. (0500 GMT) and will remain in effect until 7 p.m. (1600 GMT). She added that the suspensions will occur daily until further notice.

The military said the truce was intended to allow aid trucks to reach the nearby Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing, the main entry point for incoming aid, and to travel safely to the Salah al-Din Highway, a major north-south route. The crossing has been suffering from congestion since Israeli ground forces penetrated Rafah in early May.

The Coordination Body of Government Activities in the Territories, the Israeli military body that oversees aid distribution in Gaza, said the road would increase the flow of aid to other parts of Gaza, including Khan Yunis, Al-Mawasi and central Gaza. The hard-hit northern Gaza area, which was an early target in the war, receives goods entering from a crossing in the north.

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The army said that the stop came after discussions with the United Nations and international relief agencies.

Aid agencies, including the United Nations, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The stop comes along the southern road, such as Israel and Hamas Studying the latest proposal for a ceasefireIt’s a plan that President Joe Biden has detailed in the administration’s most focused diplomatic campaign to stop the fighting and release hostages held by the armed group. While Biden described the proposal as Israeli, Israel did not fully accept it and Hamas demanded changes that seemed unacceptable to Israel.

Israel’s eight-month military offensive against Hamas, sparked by the group’s October 7 attack, has plunged Gaza into a humanitarian crisis, with the United Nations reporting widespread hunger and hundreds of thousands of people on the brink of famine. The international community has urged Israel to make more efforts to alleviate the crisis, he said Constant fightingThis, including in Rafah, complicated aid deliveries throughout the war.

From May 6 to June 6, the United Nations received an average of 68 aid trucks per day, according to figures from the United Nations Humanitarian Office, known as OCHA. This is down from 168 trucks per day in April and well below the 500 trucks per day that aid groups say is needed.

Aid flows have decreased in southern Gaza as humanitarian needs have increased. More than a million Palestinians, many of them already displaced, He fled Rafah after the invasionThey crowd into other parts of southern and central Gaza. Most now live in dilapidated camps that use trenches as latrines, and sewage runs through the streets.

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The Office for the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories says there are no restrictions on the entry of trucks. It says that more than 8,600 trucks of all types, whether aid or commercial, entered Gaza from all crossings in the period from May 2 to June 13, at a rate of 201 trucks per day. But much of this aid accumulated at the crossings and did not reach its final destination.

Shimon Friedman, spokesman for the Office for the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories, said that the United Nations’ fault was the accumulation of its shipments at the Kerem Shalom crossing in Gaza. He said the agencies have “fundamental unresolved logistical problems,” especially a shortage of trucks.

The United Nations denies such accusations. Says The fighting between Israel and Hamas This often makes it too dangerous for UN trucks inside Gaza to travel to Kerem Shalom, which is located right next to the Israeli border.

It also says the pace of deliveries has slowed because the Israeli military must allow drivers to travel to the site, a system Israel says is designed for driver safety. Due to insecurity, aid trucks were in some cases looted by crowds while moving on Gaza roads.

The new arrangement aims to reduce the need to coordinate deliveries by providing a continuous 11-hour daily window for trucks to enter and exit the crossing.

It was not immediately clear whether the army would provide security to protect aid trucks as they moved on the highway.