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Aid-worker Tragedy Risks Overshadowing IDF Humanitarian Efforts

April 5, 2024

by: Yaakov Lappin ~ Ynetnews

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A US Air Force airman prepares bundles of humanitarian aid destined for an airdrop over Gaza.

Friday, 5 April 2024 | Monday night’s unintentional Israeli drone strike on a World Central Kitchen [WCK] aid convoy traveling along the Gaza coast, in which seven aid workers were killed, risks overshadowing a series of recent steps by the Israeli military to facilitate the flow of aid into the Strip.

Following the tragic incident, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant held an assessment with Israel Defense Forces [IDF] Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi on Tuesday, together with senior members of the defense establishment. Gallant referred to the tragic nature of the incident and emphasized the importance of conducting a thorough, professional investigation, which the implementation of lessons learned will follow.

“The minister reflected on the complex environment in which IDF troops are required to operate on a daily basis and acknowledged the importance of strengthening coordination mechanisms with key partners,” according to a statement from his office.

In addition to ordering a team to be set up immediately to investigate the incident, Gallant instructed the defense establishment to establish a joint situation room between the IDF’s Southern Command and the international aid organizations better to coordinate the distribution of humanitarian goods in Gaza. He also ordered the IDF to support distribution mechanisms by allocating appropriate resources and to brief international organizations and partners on the incident’s details and subsequent actions.

In recent months, the IDF has worked closely with WCK to distribute aid to Gazans. Earlier in the war, the organization came to the assistance of Israelis after the October 7 mass murder assault. Indeed, according to IDF Spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, “they were one of the first NGOs here.” The work done by the organization “is critical; they are on the frontlines of humanity,” he said on Tuesday, adding, “We will get to the bottom of this and we will share our findings transparently.

Monday’s tragedy occurred just as the IDF was growing into an expanded role concerning the humanitarian effort in Gaza, increasingly protecting routes used by aid convoys, with an emphasis on northern Gaza. Convoys had previously struggled to reach northern Gaza, due to looting by Hamas and criminal gangs. As part of its efforts to address the challenge, the Israeli military is also opening new routes for aid trucks.

The expanded IDF effort also comes against the backdrop of the US pier initiative, for which the Israeli military will also coordinate complex security arrangements. The initiative will involve ships carrying goods from Cyprus docking off the Gaza coast at a floating pier—to be built by the US—for distribution to multiple locations in Gaza.

The IDF is expanding its role with regard to aid distribution alongside ongoing ground operations against Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad [PIJ] throughout the Strip. The Israeli War Cabinet has so far refrained from establishing a dedicated military administration in Gaza, likely due to concern that such an administration could push Israel into long-term civilian commitments in Gaza.

The IDF is not only protecting humanitarian efforts on land and at sea but also via its Iron Dome air-defense batteries. Iron Dome is protecting ongoing airdrops conducted by the US Air Force and the Royal Jordanian Air Force.

The IDF has also helped coordinate the construction of six field hospitals in Gaza—built by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and aid organizations—and is examining ways to build another two.

Gaza is already receiving significant humanitarian aid via ground convoys, but distribution of the supplies within the Strip has proven difficult.

The Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories [COGAT] unit and the IDF have been working in recent weeks to find creative solutions to the distribution problem, including the sending of trucks into northern Gaza directly from Israel.

Between October 7 and mid-March, Israel facilitated the entry of more than 300,000 tons of food, water, medical supplies and other aid into the Gaza Strip via more than 16,000 trucks.

Between March 15 and March 25, the IDF enabled 1,322 trucks carrying 23,360 tons of aid to enter Gaza, while facilitating routes from southern to northern Gaza and opening new roads.

Northern Gaza, where some 300,000 people are believed to remain (despite IDF evacuation calls for them to move south) has been receiving some 30 aid trucks a day.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces continue to operate throughout Gaza, with the most high-profile recent activity being the two-week operation at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, which ended on Monday.

At the Shifa compound, the military killed some 200 Hamas and PIJ terrorists and captured approximately 500, as well as hundreds of additional suspects that could be added to the latter figure following an identification process. Large quantities of intelligence are being gathered from questioning the terrorists and from scanning seized documents and computers.

Posted on April 5, 2024

Source: (Excerpt of an article originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on April 3, 2024. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: US Air Force photo/