Amid Israeli concerns, which Washington shares, that Hamas will seize aid intended for civilians in the Gaza Strip, the U.S. State Department said Thursday that it will monitor the 20 trucks with supplies that enter Gaza from Egypt.
“We’ve made clear that this aid needs to go to innocent civilians and not Hamas,” said State Department spokesman Matthew Miller. “We’re going to be watching very carefully how it’s delivered because we want to be sensitive to those concerns, which we share.”
He said that the Israeli government’s concern “is that any assistance that goes in will be diverted once it’s inside Gaza, that there’s not an Israeli military force in Gaza, there’s not a U.N. peacekeeping force in Gaza.”
“The people with guns inside Gaza are Hamas, and so Hamas may try to divert this assistance and keep it from getting to the civilians who it is intended for,” he said. “We think that’s a legitimate concern.”
Miller was asked how the United States will ensure that Hamas doesn’t seize the supplies for itself. “You don’t have any way of making sure that that happens, right?” a reporter asked.
“We are working on the mechanisms for the delivery of this assistance,” Miller replied.