newsIsrael at War

White House denounces destruction of Gaza aid by outraged Israelis

The United States called the protesters' actions “completely and utterly unacceptable.”

Aid trucks on the way to the Gaza Strip. Credit: Tzav 9.
Aid trucks on the way to the Gaza Strip. Credit: Tzav 9.

The United States, United Kingdom and Germany condemned the dumping of humanitarian aid on the roadside by Israeli protesters and the later torching of at least one aid truck on Monday.

The events took place at the Tarqumiyah military checkpoint in the Hebron Hills when a convoy of trucks on the way from Jordan to the Gaza Strip with humanitarian supplies was blocked by protesters around midday.

Protesters then pulled out the contents of the trucks onto the road.

The protest group, Tzav 9, took credit for the incident, saying its concern for the hostages and its outrage over the “terrible decisions” of Israel’s cabinet “led us to stand up and take action.”

Earlier on Monday, the group had sent out a call to arms, noting that the trucks were heading to the Gaza Strip on the eve of Israel’s Memorial Day, which it called a particularly “shameful decision.”

While acknowledging its responsibility for the daytime raid, Tzav 9 emphatically denied to JNS that it was involved in the night-time incident in which a truck was set on fire.

“Actions were carried out today that are not in line with the values ​​of our movement,” Tzav 9 spokesman Israel Keller told JNS, referring to the destruction of the truck.

The White House reacted on Monday, calling the raid “completely and utterly unacceptable behavior.”

“It is a total outrage that there are people who are attacking and looting these convoys coming from Jordan going to Gaza to deliver humanitarian assistance,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in a press briefing.

“We are looking at the tools that we have to respond to this and we are also raising our concerns at the highest level of the Israeli government,” he said.

In Monday tweets, British Foreign Secretary David Cameron called the attack “appalling” and German Ambassador to Israel Steffen Seibert said it was “disgraceful.”

Tzav 9 protesters have blocked aid convoys to the Gaza Strip for months with varying success, driven by anger over the Israeli government’s bending to international pressure regarding the entry of aid to Gaza, even as Hamas holds Israelis hostage, who are themselves denied aid.

The group also says the aid keeps the terrorist group going as it purloins the supplies for itself.

“It is impossible, on the one hand, to fight Hamas to return the hostages and, on the other hand, to send it food and fuel,” Rachel Touitou, a spokeswoman for Tzav 9, told JNS in February.

The group has attracted Israelis from across the political spectrum. “Since the establishment of the movement, we have been partners with friends from the right and the left, secular and religious, residents of the city and the kibbutz,” Tzav 9 said on Monday.

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