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Israel shifts focus onto humanitarian aid effort

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As the ceasefire holds, concern is turning to the civilian population of Gaza.

Channel 10 news reported IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz as saying, “Now we must help rehabilitate Gaza … we are doing everything we can to send them food … We are entering a difficult period of aid and rehabilitation; we will help, not out of any strategic considerations, but from humanitarian ones.”

Israel is facilitating the transfer of foreign aid to Gaza. Two planeloads of aid are due, one from Italy and one from the USA, carrying medicine and medical equipment.

Haaretz quotes a senior officer from the Defence Ministry saying that, “The reality in Gaza – both civilian and economic – is very, very bad. We are closely monitoring the humanitarian situation to ensure it does not reach a crisis point.” Israel has increased the amount of aid entering Gaza. Over the conflict, Israel supplied 1,856 trucks of humanitarian aid supplied to Gaza, carrying 40,550 tons of food and supplies.

Israeli efforts to alleviate the humanitarian situation in Gaza were frequently blocked by Hamas. Hamas refused to accept blood donated by Israeli citizens, only changing its mind this week. Most ambulances in Gaza refused to take Palestinian civilians to the field hospital set up by the IDF, leaving it nearly empty throughout the conflict.

Reconstruction is also a key point in negotiations in Cairo, with Israel eager to support it but wanting guarantees and international monitoring to ensure that construction materials aren’t diverted to build a new tunnel network.

Meanwhile, journalists leaving Gaza have begun to file reports about Hamas rocket fire from civilian areas. India’s NDTV filmed a rocket launcher being buried and hidden next to a hotel full of international journalists; the rocket was launched the next day. France 24 showed the location of a rocket launcher in a civilian area next to a UN facility. Both of these reports were old but were only released once the journalists felt safe from Hamas retaliation.