IDF says aid to Gaza will ‘continue to scale up’ as it readies for Rafah incursion

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Egyptian trucks carrying humanitarian aid bound for the Gaza Strip wait near the Rafah border crossing on the Egyptian side on March 23, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and the Palestinian terror group Hamas. (Khaled Desouki/AFP)
File: Egyptian trucks carrying humanitarian aid bound for the Gaza Strip wait near the Rafah border crossing on the Egyptian side on March 23, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory between Israel and the Palestinian terror group Hamas. (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari in an English-language video statement says the amount of aid entering the Gaza Strip will “continue to scale up” in the coming days, as the military gears up for an offensive in the southern city of Rafah, and as it faces international pressure over the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian enclave.

“Over the last few weeks, the amount of humanitarian aid going into Gaza has significantly increased. In the coming days, the amount of aid going into Gaza will continue to scale up even more. Food, water, medical supplies, shelter equipment, and other aid. More of it is going into Gaza than ever before,” he says.

“This increase in aid is a result of increased effort, among them: Opening the Israeli port of Ashdod; and a new crossing that was opened into northern Gaza; and increasing the amount of aid coming from Jordan — through Israel — entering Gaza through the Kerem Shalom humanitarian aid crossing. We also facilitated the opening of dozens of bakeries in the north and south of Gaza, together with the World Food Program,” Hagari continues.

“Together with the United States Central Command, we are working on a temporary maritime pier, known as JLOTS, which stands for Joint Logistics Over-the Shore. This temporary pier will provide a ship-to-shore distribution system that will further increase the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza,” he says.

Hagari says that “as part of the efforts to get more aid into Gaza, we are also expanding the designated humanitarian zones in Gaza, where the aid will be reaching and streamlining the distribution efforts, together with international aid organizations, for increased efficiency.”

“Getting aid to the people of Gaza is a top priority,” Hagari says, adding that it is “because our war is against Hamas, not against the people of Gaza.”

“We seek to help alleviate the suffering of the civilians in Gaza that has resulted from the war that Hamas started on October 7, when it massacred and kidnapped Israelis,” he says.

“The Israel Defense Forces operates according to international law. We make vast efforts to minimize harm to the civilians that Hamas is hiding behind — because we see the suffering of civilians as a tragedy, while Hamas sees the suffering of civilians as a strategy. That’s why Hamas intentionally hides among civilians; that’s why Hamas wages war from within civilians; and that’s why Hamas has been stealing aid meant for civilians in Gaza,” Hagari says.

“We will continue to pursue Hamas everywhere in Gaza. We will continue doing everything in our power to bring back home our hostages. We will continue to fulfill our mission: Free our hostages from Hamas and free Gaza from Hamas,” he adds.

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