Gaza – Since the start of the Israel-Hamas conflict in early October, there hasn’t been any new fuel delivered to Gaza, according to US Special Envoy for Middle East Humanitarian Issues, David Satterfield, who made the statement on Saturday.
Fuel that was stored in depots accessible to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in Gaza before October 7 has been utilized by UNRWA for various purposes. This includes the transportation of aid via trucks from the Rafah terminal to distribution points, the operation of desalination plants, and the supply of fuel to hospitals in the southern Gaza region. This practice has been ongoing for nearly the past week, as per Satterfield.
The United States anticipates that additional fuel will be provided once the existing reserves are depleted, and there is an established mechanism for this replenishment. It’s important to note that this additional fuel will be directed exclusively to the southern Gaza area.
Israel has alleged that Hamas is stockpiling and diverting fuel for its own purposes, a concern echoed by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who mentioned on Friday that Israel has raised these valid concerns regarding Hamas’s actions in the northern Gaza region.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed his concern about Hamas’s actions, stating, “Once again, Hamas’s actions show a lack of concern for the dire situation, denying essential fuel to hospitals and critical facilities. In my meetings with regional partners, I will continue to discuss strategies to ensure the smooth flow of assistance, including potential support from the United Nations.”
US officials, including David Satterfield, have not received information indicating that Hamas has diverted humanitarian aid entering Gaza through the Rafah crossing in recent weeks. Aid workers in the field have not reported instances of Hamas intercepting or seizing goods.
It’s important to note that CNN cannot independently verify the precise quantity of fuel in Gaza. The hospitals in Gaza are facing increasingly challenging conditions, with facilities being stretched to their limits as they accommodate both patients and the growing number of displaced individuals who have no alternative shelter.
For instance, Gaza’s prominent cancer hospital, the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital, has ceased operations due to a combination of Israeli bombardment and shortages of fuel and resources. Low fuel reserves have even resulted in power outages within medical wards, affecting critical functions such as oxygen generation, as described by a doctor at Gaza City’s Al-Shifa hospital.