Home News Blinken warns fighting could undo Gaza aid gains

Blinken warns fighting could undo Gaza aid gains


U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned on Wednesday that recent progress in delivering much-needed humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza could be undone by fighting in southern Gaza.

Crossings in the area have been closed since Israel began a limited military operation against Hamas militants in the southern city of Rafah on the Egyptian border. The United Nations said on Wednesday that 600,000 people have fled Rafah since Israel launched a ground attack on the city.

“At a time when Israel is taking important and much-needed steps to improve the delivery of humanitarian aid, we are already seeing the negative impact of the fact that we are acting aggressively,” Mr Blinken told reporters in Kiev, Ukraine. Conflicts in the French region are very active. “

The EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell Fontelles, said in a statement that Israel needed to end its Operation Rafah “immediately” and warned that extending it “would be impossible.” avoid putting heavy pressure on the relationship between the EU and Israel.”

Israel closes another crossing – Kerem Shalom – Hamas rocket attack Four Israeli soldiers were killed nearby. It has since reopened, but aid remains very limited. Egypt, where much of Gaza’s aid is collected and loaded, has refused to send trucks to Kerem Shalom, According to multiple officials. U.S. and Israeli officials believe Egypt is trying to pressure Israel to withdraw from Operation Rafah.

Israeli forces began invading Rafah on May 6, causing Palestinians to continue fleeing northward, further deepening the humanitarian crisis in the enclave.

With Israeli troops also returning to northern Gaza, territory they seized last year in the first phase of the war, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his far-right government have been criticized for failing to develop what Blinken called “clear concrete plans” for the post-war war. and received criticism. Governance in Gaza.

“We cannot let Hamas control Gaza. We cannot let Gaza descend into chaos and anarchy,” Blinken added, saying the United States was looking to “Israel to come up with its own ideas.”

Netanyahu was also criticized on Wednesday by his own defense minister, Yoav Galante, for failing to do enough post-war planning.

Galante told a televised news conference on Wednesday that he had presented a blueprint for an alternative Palestinian government in Gaza but that he had “received no response.”

He accused the government of “indecisiveness” and called on Netanyahu to rule out establishing an Israeli military junta to oversee Palestinians in Gaza and immediately come up with “alternative governance options.”

Netanyahu defended the government, saying it was pointless to propose any alternative system of governance until Hamas was defeated. “As long as Hamas remains intact, all talk of ‘the day after tomorrow’ will be empty talk.” Netanyahu’s far-right coalition partners immediately condemned Galante’s comments, some of which called on Israel to resettle Gaza zone.

Israel and Egypt blame each other as international criticism of aid blockade grows closure Last week, Israeli forces took over the Rafah crossing on the Palestinian side as bombing and fighting intensified around Rafah.

Hundreds of Egyptian trucks were blocked from entering Gaza. The injured and sick in need of medical treatment outside the country, as well as families trying to flee the war between Israel and Hamas, have been unable to leave.

Israel accuses Egypt of blocking the flow of aid through the Rafah crossing, while Egypt says Israel’s continued presence in and around the crossing is a major obstacle.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said on Tuesday that he had discussed with his European counterparts “the need to convince Egypt” to allow “the continuation of international humanitarian aid to Gaza.”

“The key to preventing a humanitarian crisis in Gaza now lies in the hands of our Egyptian friends,” he write on Xsaid Israel would not return the crossing to what he said was Hamas control.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry quickly rebutted, saying the crossing remained closed because Israeli control of the crossing and military operations in the area put truckers and aid workers at risk .

In a statement from Egypt’s Foreign Ministry, Shoukry further dismissed what he called a “policy that distorts the facts.”

Israel has escalated military operations in the Gaza Strip in recent days, causing residents to flee in multiple directions. In addition to hundreds of thousands of civilians leaving Rafah, more than 100,000 people have fled parts of northern Gaza after Israel recently issued evacuation orders, the United Nations said on Wednesday.

The Israeli military said on Wednesday its troops were returning to the northern region, a focus area early in the war, as they had repeatedly During the war with Hamas. The need for such action has prompted Israeli critics to say the government has failed to articulate an exit strategy even as the death toll of Israeli soldiers continues to rise.

Israeli forces operate mainly in Jabaliya, according to the Israeli military and Palestinian residents. The city is a densely built area mainly populated by Palestinians and their descendants who fled or were expelled during the 1948 war that founded the state of Israel. On Wednesday, the 76th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel, Palestinians commemorated the mass displacement – known in Arabic as the Nakba, or catastrophe.

Resident Raafat Nasr said Israeli forces advanced toward Jabaliya amid heavy airstrikes and shelling. The Hamas armed wing said on the Telegram social messaging app that its militants were fighting Israeli troops in Jabaliya, opening fire on soldiers and armored vehicles.

Mr Nasr, 50, said he decided to stay at home with his wife and two children amid the “terrible explosion”. His family is scattered: his two children and grandson are trying to flee Rafah in the face of Israeli military operations.

Mr Nasr said families were squatting and rationing what little food and water they had left.

“Nowhere in Gaza is safe and we have nowhere to go,” he said.

Farnaz Fasihi and Jonathan Rice Contributed reporting.

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