Lawlessness Is Preventing Delivery of Gaza Aid

Crime groups have stepped into vacuum caused by collapse of Hamas authority
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2024 8:31 AM CDT
After Pause in Fighting, It's Still Too Dangerous to Deliver Aid
Palestinian children collect food aid ahead of the upcoming Eid al-Adha holiday in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, Saturday, June 15, 2024.   (AP Photo/Jehad Alshrafi)

Israel has brought in a daily pause in fighting along a major supply route in Gaza, but relief groups say it is still too dangerous to deliver aid amid widespread lawlessness. The New York Times, which describes the situation as "extreme anarchy," reports that organized crime groups have filled the vacuum caused by the collapse of Hamas' authority in much of Gaza. Aid groups say that despite the daily pause in fighting, more than 1,000 truckloads of supplies are still stranded near the Kerem Shalom border crossing. The US-built pier has also failed to significantly increase desperately needed aid deliveries.

United Nations spokesman Farhan Haq said Wednesday that lawlessness had prevented UN workers from picking up aid and no trucks had used the supply route since Israel announced the pause in fighting Sunday, the AP reports. Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the Israeli military's chief spokesman, warned Wednesday that Hamas could return to power if there is no alternative authority to distribute aid and provide other services, the Times reports. "The idea that it is possible to destroy Hamas, to make Hamas vanish—that is throwing sand in the eyes of the public," he told an Israeli TV station. "If we do not bring something else to Gaza, at the end of the day, we will get Hamas."

"Hamas is an idea, Hamas is a party. It's rooted in the hearts of the people—whoever thinks we can eliminate Hamas is wrong," Hagari said. The military later issued a clarification saying it was committed to achieving the goals of the war and Hagari had "referred to the destruction of Hamas as an ideology and an idea," the AP reports.

  • The Wall Street Journal reports that cigarette smuggling has made aid deliveries even more dangerous. With cigarettes selling for up to $25 each in Gaza, smugglers have been stashing contraband smokes in aid deliveries, Armed groups have been attacking aid trucks and warehouses looking for shipments that they suspect contain cigarettes.
(More Israel-Hamas war stories.)

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