Israel yielded to pressure from the United States and agreed to allow the delivery of more fuel into the Gaza Strip, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) stated on Wednesday.
“The Security Cabinet… approved the recommendation of the War Cabinet to allow a minimal supplement of fuel – necessary to prevent a humanitarian collapse and the outbreak of epidemics – into the southern Gaza Strip. The minimal amount will be determined from time to time by the War Cabinet according to the morbidity situation and humanitarian situation in the Strip,” the PMO stated.
Since the start of the war between Israel and the Hamas terrorists, Israel has restricted the entry of fuel out of concerns that Hamas would steal it and use the resource in its fight against Israel, especially for the upkeep of its underground tunnel network.
American pressure on Israel to allow the entry of more humanitarian aid has been ramping up these last few days, as Washington seeks to avoid civilian casualties following growing domestic criticism from the Democrats' left wing.
The fuel deliveries will now gradually be increased from the current daily amount of 60,000 liters (15,850 gallons) per day to 180,000 liters (almost 48,000 gallons) per day, according to U.S. demands.
The vote also exposed the rifts inside the Israeli government, mainly between the camp around Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which is stressing the need for diplomacy and international support for the war versus the right-wing members who favor a more hardline approach.
The move to increase the fuel deliveries into Gaza was “critical” for Israel to secure the continued backing from the U.S. for its military operation in Gaza, Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer said during the discussion in the cabinet meeting, Walla News reported.
Dermer is seen as a confidant of Netanyahu and is an observing member of the War Cabinet.
At the end of a two-and-a-half-hour discussion, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, both in the right fringe of the government, voted against the measure, according to Israeli media reports.
“This fuel is used by Hamas. We said a few weeks ago that you wouldn’t enter a drop and suddenly change the red line? In order to defeat Hamas and terrorism, we must stop with this [false] concept,” Ben Gvir said during the discussion, according to Kan News.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also called the decision a “grave mistake” and an “energy injection for Hamas.”
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.