Israel says it will open new aid routes into Gaza

Children in Gaza wait with empty pots at a food distribution pointGetty Images

Israel says it has approved the opening of three humanitarian routes into Gaza, to allow more aid into the territory.

The Erez Gate in northern Gaza will be temporarily re-opened for the first time since the start of the war.

Ashdod Port will be opened for humanitarian deliveries and more aid from Jordan will be allowed to enter via the Kerem Shalom Crossing.

It comes hours after US President Joe Biden told Israel’s prime minister the situation in Gaza was “unacceptable”.

According to a readout of a phone call between Mr Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu, the president warned that Israel must take steps to prevent civilian harm and humanitarian suffering if it wanted to maintain US support.

It is understood that the re-opening of the corridors was specifically requested by Mr Biden in the phone call.

The pair held the call after seven World Central Kitchen (WCK) aid workers were killed on Monday.

The WCK convoy was hit by an Israeli air strike on Monday night as it travelled south along the Israeli-designated coastal aid route, just after they had unloaded more than 100 tonnes of food from a barge at a warehouse in Deir al-Balah.

The US National Security Council said it welcomed the steps announced by Israel, which it said “must now be fully and rapidly implemented”.

US policy, it added, would be determined by the steps Israel took to protect “innocent civilians and the safety of aid workers”.

On Thursday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said there would be a change of US policy if the US did not see changes from Israel.

Mr Netanyahu has faced rising international and domestic anger at Israel’s conduct in Gaza.

A long line of lorries filled with aid has been backing up on the Egyptian side of the border with Rafah for months as they can only enter Gaza after a complex and bureaucratic series of Israeli checks.

The absence of adequate humanitarian supplies has forced Jordan, the US and UK to drop aid from the air – the least effective way to deliver humanitarian supplies.

But Palestinians have been crushed when parachutes fail and have drowned as they try to swim to pallets that have landed in the sea.

A recent UN-backed report offered evidence that the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza was turning into a man-made famine.

And the UN’s most senior human rights official, Volker Türk, recently told the BBC that there was a “plausible” case that Israel was using starvation as a weapon of war in Gaza.

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