The Israeli military has refused to relax its blockade of Gaza
If the UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees needs fuel, it can ask Hamas for some, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) said on Tuesday, in response to UNRWA’s appeals for humanitarian aid to Gaza.
“These fuel tanks are inside Gaza. They contain more than 500,000 liters of fuel. Ask Hamas if you can have some,” the IDF said on X, formerly Twitter, accompanied by a satellite photo of a dozen objects near Rafah.
It was a direct reply to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which had posted earlier, “If we do not get fuel urgently, we will be forced to halt our operations in the Gaza Strip as of tomorrow night,” meaning Wednesday.
Israel imposed a total blockade on Gaza after the October 7 incursion by Hamas, which claimed the lives of an estimated 1,400 Israelis, with another 200 or so taken hostage. The IDF has also bombed Gaza with artillery and airplanes, vowing to “dismantle” Hamas.
These fuel tanks are inside Gaza.
They contain more than 500,000 liters of fuel.
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) October 24, 2023
Asked about the progress of humanitarian aid to Gaza on Tuesday, US President Joe Biden told reporters it was “not fast enough.” A convoy of 20 trucks supposed to deliver aid to the Palestinian territory from Egypt is expected by Wednesday.
Dr. Ghassan Abu Sittah, a north London surgeon who volunteers at the Al Shifa hospital in Gaza City, told BBC that the aid convoy was a “gimmick.”
“When you send 15-20 trucks to a place with two and a quarter million people, you do it so that it appears that there’s aid coming in. Not that you have any intention of altering the outcome for the 15,000 wounded,” Abu Sittah said.
He added that the hospital had received 600 dead Palestinians over the past 24 hours and “three times as many wounded.” Supplies are running out, and another 1,800 or so civilians have sought shelter inside from Israeli airstrikes.
“They’re everywhere. They’re in the corridor and floors, they’re in the wards on the floor. Mattresses everywhere,” Abu Sittah said.
According to the Gaza Health Ministry, as of Tuesday evening, a total of 5,791 Palestinians have been killed and another 16,300 wounded since October 7.