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Israel Resumes Gaza Food Sales Amid Rafah Aid Clampdown

Photo : Reuters

Following an offensive in Gaza's southern city of Rafah, the Israeli military has lifted a ban on food sales to Gaza from Israel and the occupied West Bank. This move comes amidst increasing pressure from humanitarian agencies warning of a looming famine in the region.

Gazan traders have been granted permission to resume purchasing food items such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy products from Israeli and Palestinian suppliers. The decision was made this month, following the military assault on Rafah, which disrupted the flow of aid into Gaza.

Ayed Abu Ramadan, chair of the Gaza Chamber of Commerce, revealed that Israeli authorities contacted Gazan distributors who had previously conducted trade with the West Bank and Israel before the conflict. The Israeli military assured coordination for the pickup of goods, signaling a shift in trade dynamics.

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Reuters reports that this development marks the first instance since the outbreak of war last October that goods originating from Israel or the West Bank have been allowed into Gaza. COGAT, responsible for aid transfers, affirmed efforts to bolster humanitarian aid and increase food availability in Gaza.

However, aid workers caution that the reopening of food deliveries is not a comprehensive solution. The flow of goods through the Kerem Shalom border crossing has been inconsistent, with varying numbers of trucks entering Gaza per day. This falls short of the 600 trucks per day recommended by the U.S. Agency for International Development to avert famine.

Before the conflict erupted, Gaza relied on an average of 500 aid and commercial trucks daily for essential supplies. Since then, this number has significantly decreased, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis. Additionally, the cost of imported food remains high, further straining the already burdened populace.

The resumption of food deliveries is subject to strict oversight by the Israeli military. All suppliers and goods must undergo vetting before entering Gaza. While some essential items have reached the markets, distribution remains uneven, particularly in northern Gaza, where the threat of famine is most acute.

Despite the reopening of food trade, challenges persist, highlighting the urgent need for sustained international efforts to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

May 31, 2024 4:04 p.m. 456

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