Saturday, December 2, 2023

Israel agrees to allow two trucks of fuel per day into Gaza

(BBC News) Israel says it will allow two fuel trucks a day to enter the Gaza Strip, after pressure to do so from the U.S.

A U.S. State Department official says around 140,000 litres of fuel will be allowed in every two days.

Most of that is intended for trucks delivering aid, as well as supporting the UN in providing water and sanitation, the official said.

The rest is for mobile phone and internet services, which had been cut off due to a lack of fuel.

On Friday, the company that provides Gaza’s communications said that its services were returning after receiving some fuel via Unrwa, the UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees.

The U.S. official said Washington exerted considerable pressure on Israel to push this fuel agreement through.

The deal had been agreed in principle weeks ago, the official added, but was delayed by Israel for two reasons. Israeli officials told the US that fuel had not actually run out in southern Gaza, and they also wanted to wait and see if they could negotiate a hostage deal first.

The head of Unrwa warned on Thursday that the agency may have to suspend all of its activities due to the lack of fuel.

In its latest situation report, the agency said it required “160,000 litres of fuel every day for basic humanitarian operations” — more than double what has been agreed.

Earlier, an Israeli official said the new fuel allowance would be brought in through the Rafah crossing to the civilian population in the southern Gaza Strip via the UN, provided that it does not reach Hamas.

The Israeli official said the fuel would give “minimal” support to water, sewage and sanitation systems, in order to prevent the outbreak of epidemics that could spread in the area.

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