Israel not letting enough fuel and aid into Gaza in violation of UN resolution: EU commissioner

AFP , Tuesday 28 Nov 2023

Israeli restrictions on fuel supplies to Gaza are hampering aid deliveries and humanitarian access required under a UN resolution, an EU commissioner, Janez Lenarcic, said Tuesday.

An Egyptian truck delivering fuel to the Gaza Strip, crosses from Gaza to Egypt at Rafah, Egypt, as
An Egyptian truck delivering fuel to the Gaza Strip, crosses from Gaza to Egypt at Rafah, Egypt, as a temporary ceasefire went into effect, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. AP


Lenarcic -- who is in charge of crisis management -- was speaking as the EU countries and aid organizations scrambled to provide relief to Gaza's population of 2.3 million under a truce agreed by Israel and Hamas.

"We are calling for the increase of fuel supplies to the (Gaza) strip," Lenarcic told journalists in Brussels.

"The humanitarian access should be based on the needs and not on some restrictions," he said.

1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza's population have been internally displaced by Israel's war on the strip.

Meanwhile, the health system in the strip has been brought to its knees, while water, food, medicine, and power supplies have been all but exhausted.

Palestinian authorities in Gaza say the relentless Israeli bombing and ground offensive has killed 15,000 and wounded more than 50,000 - roughly two-thirds of them women and children.

Lenarcic said aid deliveries to Gaza were encountering two bottlenecks.

One is that trucks needing to enter Gaza via the Rafah crossing with Egypt -- the only entry not given onto Israeli territory -- had to undergo screening at a point 90 minutes drive away.

The other is that Israel is allowing only restricted amounts of fuel to go into Gaza which are "still not sufficient for the needs" of the territory.

The EU commissioner said Brussels is calling for increased truck screening capacity, and for more fuel to be allowed in.

The fuel, he noted, was essential for humanitarian operations, hospitals, water stations, desalination plants, water pumps, and bakeries.

"The quantities that are for the moment entering daily are not enough for all this," he said.

Lenarcic stressed that a UN Security Council resolution adopted on November 16 was binding on all parties, requiring them to allow "unimpeded access" for food, water, medicine, fuel, and other necessary items to reach Gaza.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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