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Families of hostages blast increased gas deliveries to Gaza

“This fuel may take us another step away from rescuing and releasing the kidnapped.”

Trucks carrying humanitarian aid enter Gaza at Egypt's Rafah crossing, Nov 25, 2023. Screenshot: IDF.
Trucks carrying humanitarian aid enter Gaza at Egypt's Rafah crossing, Nov 25, 2023. Screenshot: IDF.

Israel’s governing coalition was divided by a Security Cabinet decision on fuel deliveries to the Gaza Strip, with critics and families of the hostages saying it sets back the war against Hamas.

On Wednesday, the Security Cabinet gave the green light to increase deliveries of fuel to the Gaza Strip to 120,000 liters (31,700 gallons) daily.

“The minimum fuel distribution will be determined from time to time by the War Cabinet according to the health conditions and the humanitarian situation in the Strip,” the Prime Minister’s Office said.

The move was opposed by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Defense Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, leaders of the National Religious and Otzma Yehudit parties, respectively.

The Tikva Forum, representing families of abductees, voiced its opposition: “This fuel may become instrumental in killing our soldiers, and moreover, take us another step away from rescuing and releasing the kidnapped,” the forum said in a statement.

“Every liter of fuel takes us away from defeating Hamas,” said a spokesman for Ben-Gvir. “They hold our hostages, and our soldiers fall there every day, and the transfer of fuel is a direct continuation of that concept.”

With the IDF operating in southern Gaza, the forum asserted: “It is a great shame that due to American political pressure, we are backing away from the decisions that the same cabinet made only a few days ago. In order to return the captives, Hamas must be pressured more by the tightening of the siege.”

At least 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on Oct. 7. Hamas currently holds 137 men, women, children, soldiers and foreigners captive in Gaza. Some people remain unaccounted for as Israeli authorities continue to identify bodies and search for human remains.

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