Israeli-Palestinian conflict: US launches first aid aircraft in Gaza

More than 30,000 meals were dropped by three military aircraft as part of the US’s first humanitarian relief airdrop to Gaza. President Joe Biden declared that this operation, which involved Jordan’s air force as well, was the first of many to come. After mobs stormed a convoy on Thursday, killing at least 112 people, he pledged to increase aid. A senior US official announced that the basis of an agreement for a six-week truce in Gaza was in place at the same time as the airdrop. More than 38,000 meals were dropped by C-130 transport planes along the territory’s shoreline on Saturday, according to a statement from US Central Command.

 

While aid has previously been airdropped into Gaza by the UK, France, Egypt, and Jordan, this is the first time the US has done so. “The importance of expanding and sustaining the flow of humanitarian assistance into Gaza in response to the dire humanitarian situation” was underscored, according to administration officials, by Thursday’s “tragic incident”. According to relief organizations, airdrops are a wasteful method of providing assistance. Medhat Taher, a displaced native of Gaza, told the Reuters news agency that such an approach was dreadfully insufficient. Is this sufficient for a school? For ten thousand people, is this enough?” he said. “It’s better to send aid via crossings and better than airdropping via parachutes.”

 

President Biden said the United States would “insist that Israel facilitate more trucks and more routes to get more and more people the help they need” in a statement on Friday. On Saturday, a representative of the Biden administration stated that Israel had “more or less accepted” a deal on a new truce. “It will be a six-week ceasefire in Gaza starting today if Hamas agrees to release the defined category of vulnerable hostages (…) the sick, the wounded, elderly and women,” the unidentified official stated. According to a White House official quoted by Reuters, Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz and US Vice President Kamala Harris will meet in Washington on Monday to talk about a truce and other matters.

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