‘No Substitute to Land Routes’ – Top Officials Urge to Open Additional Aid Crossings into Gaza

A humanitarian convoy headed to Gaza. (Photo: via UN Twitter Page)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

Officials from the US, the UK, the UAE, Qatar, Southern Cyprus and the EU have underscored the need for Israel to open additional crossings so more aid can reach Gaza, including the north.

Senior officials from the US, four other countries and the European Union have agreed that there is no substitute for land routes via Egypt and Jordan, as they discussed plans to open a maritime corridor for humanitarian aid to enter the besieged Gaza Strip.

The ministers “underscored the need for Israel to open additional crossings so more aid can reach Gaza, including the north, and to ease overall customs restrictions to facilitate an increased flow of life-saving humanitarian assistance,” said a joint statement on Wednesday by the US, the UK, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Southern Cyprus and the European Commission.

The statement came after a video conference attended by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, European Union Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic, UK Foreign Minister David Cameron, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Qatar’s Minister of State Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Al-Khulaifi, UN Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza Sigrid Kaag and Southern Cyprus Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos.

The ministers “agreed that there is no substitute to land routes via Egypt and Jordan and entry points from Israel into Gaza for aid delivery at scale,” the statement said.

They also agreed that opening Ashdod port to humanitarian assistance “would be a welcome and significant complement to the corridor.”

A New Leading Cause of Death in Gaza: Starvation and Lack of Food

Common Fund

Senior officials will head to Cyprus during the week of March 18 for in-depth briefings on the further activation of the corridor, including US military planning efforts to establish a temporary pier able to receive significant quantities of humanitarian assistance, according to the statement.

They will also “undertake consultations on the possibility of establishing a common fund to support the maritime corridor, and coordinate in-kind and financial contributions to its sustainment.”

The ministers “reaffirmed that this maritime corridor can — and must — be part of a sustained effort to increase the flow of humanitarian aid and commercial commodities into Gaza through all possible routes — including expanded land routes and continued aerial delivery,” it added.

In addition, “working closely with Coordinator Sigrid Kaag — who is charged with facilitating, coordinating, monitoring, and verifying the flow of aid into Gaza under UN Security Council Resolution 2720.”

Despite direct calls for Israel to allow sufficient aid into Gaza, from its leading allies and the International Court of Justice (ICJ), northern Gaza faced over a month without food aid deliveries.

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Death by Starvation

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health the number of Palestinians who have died from malnutrition due to starvation in Gaza, has risen to 27.

A UN special rapporteur on the right to food has described Israel’s  “intentional campaign of starvation” against the Palestinian people in Gaza as “genocide,” saying Israel is using food and hunger as a weapon.

“We see a campaign of starvation that started from the beginning of the war and continues to unfold today,” Michael Fakhri told the Anadolu news agency last week.

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“There is no doubt that this is genocide and that this is a campaign and intentional campaign of starvation by Israel against the Palestinian people in Gaza.”

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7.

Over 31,300 Killed

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 31,341 Palestinians have been killed, and 73,134 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip.

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

Israel’s Siege on Gaza – Children Die from Starvation, Get Poisoned by Animal Feed

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire.’

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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