At the request of the United States, the Israel Defense Forces will not stop specific humanitarian convoys from reaching the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing from Egypt, Israel’s war Cabinet decided on Wednesday.
The decision was approved in light of the “sweeping and vital” support from Washington, the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem said.
“In light of President [Joe] Biden’s request, Israel will not prevent humanitarian assistance from Egypt as long as it is only food, water and medicine for the civilian population located in the southern Gaza Strip or which is evacuating to there,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced.
“Any supplies that reach Hamas—will be prevented,” added the statement.
Responding to reporters during a Wednesday press briefing, a Prime Minister’s Office spokesman said he couldn’t go into specifics in terms of how Israel would ensure humanitarian aid doesn’t fall into Hamas’s hands, “but I will tell you those safeguards will have to be stronger than the safeguards that were in place after the 2014 War.”
After 2014’s Operation Protective Edge, which Israel launched following the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers, Israel helped set up a mechanism for building supplies to reach Gazans whose homes were destroyed, but “those building supplies were systematically diverted towards Hamas,” he said.
Jerusalem also said it would not allow any aid to be delivered via Israeli territory until the hostages being held by terrorist groups are released.
Biden arrived in Israel on Wednesday morning amid the Jewish state’s ongoing war with Hamas. The U.S. president announced his trip to Israel on Monday, saying he was coming “to stand in solidarity in the face of Hamas’s brutal terrorist attack.”
Hamas terrorists killed at least 1,400 Israelis and wounded more than 4,400 in a massive offensive launched from Gaza on Oct. 7, which included the firing of thousands of rockets at Israel and the infiltration of the Jewish state by terrorist forces.
Terrorists took at least 199 hostages from Israel to Gaza, including an unknown number of U.S. citizens, the IDF confirmed earlier this week.
The Biden administration is increasingly keyed in on aid to Gazans, with National Security Council spokesman John Kirby telling reporters on Tuesday that the president will be asking Israel some “tough questions.”
“It is critical that aid begin flowing into Gaza as soon as possible,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed earlier this week, adding that Washington shares Israel’s concern that the aid will fall into the hands of Hamas, and promising that if that happens, “we’ll be the first to condemn it. And we will work to prevent it from happening again.”