Humanitarian aid drops into Gaza only ‘theater’: Aid groups

The US joined other countries in dropping aid to Gaza by air on 2 March, an effort that aid groups describe as “theater” that contributes to chaos on the ground and does little to prevent the famine Israel is imposing upon 2.3 million Palestinians.

US Central Command announced Saturday that Air Force C-130s, working with Jordan’s air force, dropped containers packed with more than 38,000 meals onto the besieged enclave.

The containers were dropped by parachute over the besieged enclave’s Mediterranean coastline to allow “civilian access to the critical aid,” Central Command said.

Over the past week, Jordan, Egypt, the UAE, and France have dropped tons of prepared meals, diapers, and other essential supplies.

But dropping aid from planes is an expensive, inefficient way to deliver aid to a population and insufficient to meet the needs of the more than 2 million people in Gaza, including hundreds of thousands on the brink of starvation, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

To stave off the famine that Israel is creating in Gaza, the US must use its leverage to force Israel to open the land crossings to aid convoys.

Philippe Lazzarini, the head of UNRWA, the principal UN agency for Palestinian affairs, described airdrops as “a last-resort, extraordinarily expensive way of providing assistance.”

“I don’t think that the airdropping of food in the Gaza Strip should be the answer today,” Lazzarini added. “The real answer is: open the crossings and bring convoys and medical assistance into the Gaza Strip.”

Janti Soeripto, the head of Save the Children, called the Gaza airdrops “theater” that are fueling chaos on the ground.

“You can’t really guarantee who gets it and who doesn’t,” she explained. “You can’t really guarantee where it ends up. You might put people at risk,” including children who have waded into the sea to try to retrieve the heavy parcels.

The US drops come one day after Israel opened fire and killed over 100 desperate Palestinians seeking to receive sacks of flour from one of the few aid convoys to reach northern Gaza.

The Electronic Intifada noted that “What is being marketed as benevolent assistance amounts to humanitarian aid theater that does nothing to end the systematic and intentional campaign of starvation Israel and its American and European allies, with the complicity of regional regimes, are waging against Palestinians.”

By participating in these drops, Arab countries are “providing public relations cover for countries directly involved in Israel’s genocide of Palestinians in Gaza,” the news outlet added.

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby acknowledged that the air drops were only meant to be supplemental because “You can’t replicate the size and scale and scope of a convoy of 20 or 30 trucks.”

Despite this, the White House has made no effort to force Israel to allow more convoys into Gaza and has continued to supply Tel Aviv with weapons for its campaign that has killed over 30,000 Palestinians, the majority women and children.

At the same time, Israel is deliberately ensuring that aid does not reach Gaza.

In February, Israeli ministers Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot proposed “a reduction of the [aid] supply – as part of the pressure to build another mechanism in the Strip and also as part of the moves to return the hostages.”

Source: The cradle

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