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Humanitarian aid is a genocidal tool in the hands of Israel and the US

March 12, 2024 at 4:00 pm

Parachutes filled with aid boxes float down as planes drop humanitarian aid around various regions in the northern Gaza, Gaza on March 09, 2024. [Omar Qattaa – Anadolu Agency]

Israel has no intention of allowing any meaningful amount of humanitarian aid to reach Gaza. Even its settler society has been recorded as saying that Palestinians in Gaza do not deserve aid until all the Israeli hostages are released, despite there being no link between imposing a genocidal famine and securing the hostages’ return to the occupation state. Apart, that is, from the fact that if Gaza starves, so will the hostages.

Creating a spectacle out of genocide in the name of humanitarian aid is something in which the international community has excelled. Israel destroyed trucks carrying aid and killed Palestinians scrambling for meagre amounts of food. Jordan and the US attempted humanitarian airdrops, some of which fell into the sea. Another airdropped pallet of food killed Palestinians when the parachute failed to open. Not only was aid wasted, but the food was only enough for a relatively few thousand Palestinians when all of Gaza is starving.

READ: Israel once again takes aim at Gazans waiting for aid

Instead of holding Israel accountable, the US has come up with another timewaster of an idea

It is going to build a floating pier on the Gaza shore which will be used to transfer aid from ships into the enclave. US troops will build the pier. Militarising humanitarian aid has never been easier, it seems. And for the humanitarian aspect, never more drawn out. Building the pier could take up to 60 days, and the USAV General Frank S. Besson has already set sail with the necessary equipment. The US will deploy 1,000 troops to construct the 550m long pier, and “the Israeli government will maintain security at the pier,” according to statements by US President Joe Biden. This is hardly a comforting notion. Rather, it’s a guarantee that, 60 days later, Palestinians will still be starving to death in Israel’s planned genocide.

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) mellowed its criticism of the US plan for aid delivery. “Any effort to bring in more humanitarian aid into Gaza to help the desperate people is absolutely welcome,” said Director of Communications Juliette Touma, while noting that road deliveries of humanitarian aid would be more efficient. The statement is overly careful not to upset Israel and the US, while also patronising the Palestinian people. If UNRWA’s preoccupation with neutrality was not its prime objective when issuing statements, the US plan would have encountered a principled objection. Trying to appease Israel will not soften the occupation state’s plans for UNRWA’s closure, as the Times of Israel reported yesterday on the IDF’s plan to replace the agency with an alternative such as the UN World Food Programme. Which once again shows that the UN finds nothing contradictory about working with human rights violators to safeguard human rights.

The floating pier for humanitarian aid is a waste of time, not a welcome effort. What the pier will be used for, if any ulterior motives are set in store, remains to be seen. The apartheid state’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz had spoken of building an artificial island off Gaza’s coast to facilitate the Palestinian people’s forced displacement from the enclave. Any humanitarian gesture by the US to which Israel has no real objection, like this pier, should thus ring alarm bells. According to Jordanian military and strategic affairs expert Hisham Khreisat, “The floating port off the shores of Gaza is a humanitarian facade hiding voluntary migration to Europe.” Take aid in; take Palestinians out. Humanitarian aid is a genocidal tool in the hands of Israel and the US.

OPINION: An honourable way out of complicity in genocide does not exist

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.