US reissues plea for Israel to allow massive American shipment of flour into Gaza

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

The US reissues its plea for Israel to allow a massive American shipment of flour into Gaza amid the ballooning humanitarian catastrophe in the Strip.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to allow the shipment into Gaza one month ago, and the war cabinet approved it as well. However, the delivery has been held up at Ashdod Port for several weeks by far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich because it is slated for distribution by UNRWA, which is being investigated over allegations that 12 of its members participated in Hamas’s October 7 terror onslaught.

An Israeli official claimed earlier this week to The Times of Israel that Jerusalem is looking into having other agencies distribute the flour, but those efforts have yet to bear fruit.

“I wish I could tell you that that flour is moving in, but I can’t do that right now. All I can tell you is that it is absolutely critical as a staple for the Palestinian people, and we’re going to keep working with our Israeli counterparts to see if we can get that port open to that flour,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby says in response to a question on the matter during a press briefing.

“They committed to allowing it in. We want to make sure that happens. We’re mindful of the comments made by members of the cabinet about flour in the Ashdod Port, and we are working it very hard,” he adds.

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