/ 11 March 2024

A plan to feed hungry Gazans


The Squiz

A US military ship is on the way to Gaza, carrying supplies to build a temporary aid port off the Palestinian territory’s coast. The plan is to construct a floating pier to allow much-needed humanitarian aid to be delivered by sea after land and air deliveries have proven difficult. It will take up to 60 days to build, but the Pentagon says the port could help 2 million meals get through to Gazans each day. It comes as US President Joe Biden said Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s approach to the war is “hurting Israel more than helping Israel”. He urged Netanyahu to “pay more attention to the innocent lives being lost as a consequence of the actions taken”.

What’s happening with aid now?

The UN says more than half a million people in Gaza are facing “catastrophic” levels of starvation, and late last week, there were reports of a growing number of Palestinian children dying from starvation. Officials say fewer than 150 trucks have been reaching Gaza daily, but that needs to be “massively” scaled up to get to more than 2 million Palestinians. Several things are hindering access, but security checks and bottlenecks at border crossings are the main problems. Over the weekend, Canada and Sweden resumed funding to the UN’s main Palestinian aid agency UNRWA… That was after 16 countries, including Australia, suspended contributions after Israel accused staff of involvement in the 7 October Hamas attacks. Australia is yet to make a call on restoring at least $6 million to the agency.

What about the ceasefire?

Good question – there was lots of talk last week about an imminent ceasefire, including from Biden. That hasn’t panned out yet, although Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad says mediators are still pushing for a deal. Both Israel and Hamas are blaming each other for the hold-up… Hamas says it’s received no guarantee that Israel will permanently end the war and pull its troops from Gaza. But Israel says Hamas is dragging out the negotiations to stoke more fighting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which has just begun. There were hopes that a truce could be reached by the time Ramadan started, but world leaders are instead looking to head off any additional tensions spreading across the Middle East region.

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