Wed. Jul 17th, 2024
Palestinians look for survivors following Israeli airstrike in Nusseirat refugee camp, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023. (AP Photo/Doaa AlBaz)

A CNN investigation has found that Israel is obstructing the entrance of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip, as some parts of the territory face famine.

Interviewing more than two dozen humanitarian and government officials, the report says Israel has imposed “arbitrary and contradictory criteria” regarding access to vital aid.

The items most frequently rejected by the Israelis include anaesthetics and anaesthesia machines, oxygen cylinders, ventilators and water filtration systems. Other products such as dates, sleeping bags, medicines to treat cancer, water purification tablets and maternity kits have also been denied entry.

According to Janti Soeripto, Save the Children US president, who was interviewed by CNN, she has “never seen anything like the level of barriers being put in place to hamper humanitarian assistance”.

Most of CNN’s sources requested anonymity for fear, they said, of reprisals and further Israeli restrictions on an already choked aid pipeline.

Several sources said a substantial portion of the donations they handled were either rejected or held up by a long wait for clearance by Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, or COGAT, which manages the flow of aid into the strip.

“It is perfectly engineered chaos,” said one CNN source who oversees donations from four different relief organizations at one of the transit routes. Over 15,000 tons of their relief supplies await Israeli approval to enter Gaza, the source said. More than half consists of food items.

“It’s deliberately opaque, deliberately ambiguous,” said another senior humanitarian official. “You can receive clearance from COGAT and arrive to find police or finance and customs officials who will send the truck back.”