Gaza Truce Talks Bog Down Over Disputes on Aid Inspections


Israel has repeatedly said it is concerned that aid deliveries could be used to smuggle weapons into the territory, and that even basic supplies like fuel could be used by Hamas for military purposes.

One U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss diplomatic talks, said that without Israel’s cooperation, any Security Council resolution would be difficult to put into effect, and that Washington would not approve a measure that removed Israel from the inspection process.

The United Arab Emirates, a member of the Security Council, and Egypt, whose border is used for the majority of aid deliveries, insisted on a U.N. inspection system to speed up the shipments, diplomats said. The current system, the two nations say, is too cumbersome because it requires aid trucks moving through Rafah, a crossing between Egypt and Gaza, to first be inspected at Kerem Shalom, an Israeli border town.

“The point of the resolution is to ensure that aid goes into Gaza, safely, and at scale. Humanitarians have called this a code red moment for the Palestinians in Gaza,” said Lana Nusseibeh, the U.A.E.’s U.N. ambassador, who has been leading the negotiations. “The resolution opens more entry points, because Rafah alone is clearly not sufficient and Egypt is doing an incredible job under extremely challenging circumstances.”

On Wednesday, U.N. officials said they had been able to deliver food aid to a small number of people in Gaza, including food packages to 2,350 people and hot meals to 1,750 people, but that it was far less than was needed. Almost every household in Gaza, which has 2.2 million residents, is facing a severe lack of food and water, they said. Most have been forced from their homes.

“We want to see the guns fall silent so we can reach the people of Gaza who need the most help right now,” a U.N. spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric, said on Wednesday.

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, at a news conference in Washington, said on Wednesday that “I hope we can get to a good place” on the U.N. resolution. Asked about sticking points, he said only that the goal was that it “actually advances” efforts to deliver aid “and doesn’t do anything that could actually hurt the delivery of humanitarian assistance, or make it more complicated.”

Israel’s foreign minister, Eli Cohen, on Wednesday voiced support for a plan that would ship aid into Gaza through Cyprus in coordination with Israel, after a security inspection. “Opening the maritime corridor between Cyprus and Gaza is both an Israeli interest and an international interest,” Mr. Cohen said.

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