Israel’s security cabinet granted preliminary approval for a “minimal” increase in fuel provisions to the Gaza Strip, claiming to prevent a humanitarian crisis, reported the Israel Broadcasting Authority.
However, the decision, under mounting US influence, is yet to undergo final approval from the full Cabinet.
Moreover, the amount of increase in fuel supplies to be transported through the Rafah Border Crossing from Egypt was not mentioned in Israeli media reports. The US, Israel’s closest ally, has been urging Israel to do more to allow fuel and other aid into Gaza and reduce harm to civilians.
In a statement released on X, the Israeli Prime Minister’s office announced that the decision permits a limited addition of fuel, which is considered essential to prevent a humanitarian crisis and the potential onset of epidemics, in the southern Gaza Strip.
It added that the quantity will be regularly assessed based on the humanitarian conditions in the area.
The Security Cabinet, this evening, approved the recommendation of the War Cabinet to allow a minimal supplement of fuel – necessary to prevent a humanitarian collapse and the outbreak of epidemics – into the southern Gaza Strip.
— Prime Minister of Israel (@IsraeliPM) December 6, 2023
Following the end of the “humanitarian pause” last week, Israeli authorities also reduced the fuel allocation for humanitarian aid by half. Thomas White, the Director of the UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA Affairs in Gaza, warned on X that this decision could lead to a further loss of lives.
Fuel is vital to saving lives – with the end of the ‘pause’ the Israeli authorities have made the decision to cut fuel for humanitarian aid by 50% – this will cost more lives
— Thomas White (@TomWhiteGaza) December 2, 2023
The UN says about 80 per cent of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have fled their homes during the war, and that many of them have moved repeatedly, and under aerial bombardment.
Rafah city is about 13 km (8 miles) from Khan Yunis, which is under fierce attack. It sits on the border with Egypt, and the Rafah Crossing is the sole crossing point between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.
The UN report issued yesterday said that, although some aid had entered Gaza from Egypt through the Crossing, its distribution by the UN had been hampered by a shortage of trucks and because staff could not report to Rafah because of the surge in hostilities since a truce collapsed last week.