In a critical move amid ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip, Israel’s war cabinet has agreed to permit the entry of two fuel trucks per day into the region. This decision comes after strong urging from the United States and amid a severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
Strategic Considerations and International Pressure
Israeli officials view the decision as a strategic maneuver, granting the country additional international leverage while it continues its operations against Hamas in Gaza. The fuel, transferred through the Egyptian-controlled Rafah crossing, is intended for essential services in Gaza, such as water, sewage, and sanitation systems, to prevent epidemic outbreaks.
The approval follows significant pressure from the Biden administration. According to U.S. and Israeli officials, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, along with U.S. humanitarian envoy David Satterfield, had repeatedly emphasized the necessity of fuel for Gaza’s basic infrastructure in recent discussions with Israeli representatives. In a decisive call ahead of the Israeli war cabinet meeting, Blinken pressed Israeli Ministers Benny Gantz and Ron Dermer, urging the approval of the fuel supply.
Gaza’s Dire Situation
Gaza’s humanitarian condition has deteriorated sharply, with telecommunications services halting due to depleted fuel for generators and a lack of aid trucks entering the area. The Israeli decision to allow fuel shipments is seen as an attempt to alleviate the humanitarian crisis, providing minimal support without compromising its strategic goals against Hamas.
Details of the Fuel Shipment
Approximately 60,000 liters of fuel will be allowed into Gaza daily through the Rafah crossing in two UN fuel tankers. This fuel is earmarked for civilian facilities in southern Gaza. A senior Israeli official stated, “This decision is meant to allow the operation of water, sewage and sanitation systems in southern Gaza in order to prevent the spread of disease that will harm the civilian population.” However, another Israeli official noted that this amount is still limited compared to the nearly 7 million liters that entered weekly before the conflict.
Monitoring and Security Concerns
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) will closely monitor the fuel supply to ensure it does not reach Hamas. The decision also includes the potential deployment of international forces in Gaza post-conflict, a topic that has generated international debate and scrutiny.