update deskIsrael at War

Netanyahu to AIPAC: I suggested idea of Gaza-aid sea route to Biden

"Everything that you see: The airdrops, that's with us; the sea route, that's with us," the Israeli prime minister told AIPAC leaders.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomes President Joe Biden at Ben-Gurion Airport, Oct. 18, 2023. Photo by Avi Ohayon/GPO.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomes President Joe Biden at Ben-Gurion Airport, Oct. 18, 2023. Photo by Avi Ohayon/GPO.

The humanitarian initiatives for the civilian population of the Gaza Strip came about with Israeli support, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told leaders of the pro-Israel AIPAC lobbying group on Monday.

“Everything that you see: The airdrops, that’s with us; the sea route, that’s with us—it actually started out as an idea that I presented to President Biden two weeks into the war,” Netanyahu said during the meeting in Jerusalem, a recording of which was shared by his office.

“And then alternative ground routes; that’s us. Kerem Shalom [to southern Gaza], and now in the center of what is called Karni [the Karni crossing near Gaza City], that’s us, we’re providing it,” added the premier.

Netanyahu did not elaborate on what he meant by the “sea route” and whether this included Biden’s plan to build a pier to supply Gaza. A spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office told JNS that Jerusalem would not be “adding to what we already put out.”

During the meeting with AIPAC, Netanyahu noted, “The problem is not getting the trucks into Gaza—that’s a problem, but not a big problem. The problem is how do you distribute.

“The problem is how do you prevent looting by Hamas and by others so it does get to the civilian population; we’re working on that,” he said.

In his March 7 State of the Union address, Biden announced the establishment of a floating pier on the Gaza coast to deliver supplies following an inspection. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant welcomed the initiative, saying that it would help collapse the Hamas terrorist group.

Two days after Biden’s speech, IDF Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari revealed that “following the directive of the minister of defense, and together with our partners in the United States and the United States Central Command, we are coordinating the establishment of a temporary floating pier, intended to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza.”

Biden’s initiative complements a pilot program to provide aid to the coastal enclave through a humanitarian sea corridor from Cyprus. Greece and Cyprus proposed the plan at the start of the war, and the first aid ship reached the Strip from Larnaca port on Friday.

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