update deskIsrael at War

Anti-Gaza-aid protest movement accuses Biden of interference

The Tzav 9 movement responded to a report that the White House is considering sanctions against Israelis blocking supply trucks.

People block the entrance to Ashdod Port during a protest against aid trucks entering the Gaza Strip, Feb. 1, 2024. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.
People block the entrance to Ashdod Port during a protest against aid trucks entering the Gaza Strip, Feb. 1, 2024. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.

The Israeli group organizing protests against supplies to Gaza is accusing the Biden administration of interfering in the war effort following a report that the White House is considering imposing sanctions against those who target the delivery trucks.

“The same Americans who take pride in freedom of expression and protest try to grossly interject themselves into the State of Israel’s war against a terror organization that committed a terrible massacre against civilians,” the Tzav 9 movement wrote in a statement.

“This is our war, for our home, for our existence as a people, and we have the right and obligation to win,” the statement continued.

“Part of victory is to completely stop Hamas’s control over the Gaza Strip, and the way to do that is to stop the aid that goes directly to the terrorists. Today it is clear: to bring back the hostages and to defeat Hamas, we need to control the aid even after it goes into [Gaza],” the group said.

The U.S. is considering the imposition of sanctions against Israelis attempting to block the aid trucks, The Washington Post reported on Sunday, citing a senior official.

The Biden administration has been pushing to increase the amount of aid going into Gaza despite widespread looting and chaotic distribution. According to Israeli estimates, Hamas has been stealing up to 60% of the aid.

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has called the targeting of aid trucks by opponents of Hamas “a total outrage.”

The Post article focuses on a small group of fringe activists in Judea and Samaria who have been targeting aid trucks, tracking the vehicles and coordinating attacks via WhatsApp groups.

“Groups of settler youth are tailing relief convoys, setting up checkpoints and interrogating drivers,” the article reads. “In some cases, far-right attackers have ransacked and burned trucks and beaten Palestinian drivers, leaving at least two hospitalized.”

The Israeli government has sprung into action to prevent the blockage of the aid trucks; Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed police to crack down on the anti-aid protests.

In the letter published by Channel 12, which was sent via the Israeli National Security Council, Netanyahu acknowledges that American officials say that he “does not do enough on humanitarian matters” and that “therefore, we must continue efforts to flood [Gaza with aid], including ensuring that the movement of trucks continues.”

The Israeli Defense Ministry’s COGAT unit said on Monday that the previous day, 360 aid trucks crossed in to Gaza, including 124 from Egypt which passed through Israel’s Kerem Shalom crossing. Cairo agreed to restart aid coordination with Israel after a Friday call between Presidents Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Joe Biden.

Aid trucks had been stalled in Sinai for weeks after Egypt refused to work with Israel in opposition to its military takeover of the Gaza side of the Rafah Crossing to the peninsula.

Also on Sunday, according to COGAT, 37 pallets were air-dopped into Gaza and six fuel tankers entered the Strip.

Last week, 1,981 trucks entered Gaza, including seven from UNRWA and 284 from other U.N. agencies, COGAT said.

“Since everybody else seems to be able to send supplies to Gaza, maybe the problem is with @UNRWA?” COGAT tweeted.

Meanwhile, more than a half-dozen senior Israeli health and medical academics recently conducted an in-depth study of food aid to the Gaza Strip and determined that a sufficient amount had entered to meet the needs of the entire population.

The researchers analyzed food shipments delivered into the Gaza Strip by land from January to April 2024 as recorded by COGAT.

The researchers classified the food consignments by type, i.e. specific food commodities, standardized food parcels containing recommended items, cooked meals, infant foods, etc.

Researchers also estimated the total energy (kcal/ton), protein (gm/ton), fat (gm/ton) and iron (mg/ton) content of each shipment according to food composition values.

Their conclusion: “The amount of food delivered per capita should be sufficient for the entire Gazan population, and meets Sphere humanitarian recommendations for food aid delivery to conflict affected populations, during the period examined.”

The Sphere standards are the most commonly used set of core humanitarian standards for food security and nutrition in humanitarian contexts.

“Additional sources of food aid provided by air, sea and via the Egyptian border were not taken into account,” the report noted. “Therefore, our results do not represent the entire food supply available to the population, which may have more fruit and vegetables.”

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