Israelis in W. Bank attack, burn aid convoys headed to Gaza

Israeli protesters vandalised aid convoys carrying necessary items for those suffering in Gaza [Getty/file photo]

Scores of Israeli extremists in the occupied West Bank on Monday deliberately blocked relief trucks and destroyed aid destined for Gazans, in the latest in a series of attacks on aid convoys meant for desperate Palestinians in the war-hit enclave.

Video footage online showed the Israelis damaging boxes of food and throwing their contents on the road, as they sought to prevent aid from reaching Gaza.

Other footage showed spilled flour, rice and sugar on the ground, with trucks which had been visibly vandalised.

Four people, including a minor, were reportedly arrested, Israeli media reported.

Two trucks were set ablaze later on, after police left the scenes following the arrests, Haaretz reported.

The aid convoys came from Jordan through the Tarqumiya checkpoint, west of Hebron in the occupied West Bank, reports said.

The individuals responsible for Monday’s convoy attacks were identified as members of the far-right Tzav 9 group, an organisation which says it seeks to halt aid deliveries to Gaza “as Israeli hostages are still held” in the territory.

The group had previously blocked and sabotaged aid trucks headed towards Gaza several times this month.

Commenting on the incident, US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said it “is a total outrage that there are people who are attacking and looting these convoys coming from Jordan, going to Gaza to deliver humanitarian assistance”.

“We are looking at the tools that we have to respond to this,” he added. “We are also raising our concerns at the highest level of the Israeli government and it’s something that we make no bones about – this is completely and utterly unacceptable behaviour,” Sullivan added.

Since the start of the deadly Israeli military onslaught over seven months ago, far-right Israeli activists have attempted to prevent aid convoys from reaching Gaza, where a dire humanitarian crisis has been unfolding as a result of Israel’s military onslaught.

Since 7 October, the Israeli army has killed at least 35,173 Palestinians in Gaza, and has imposed a near-total siege depriving residents of basic necessities such as water, food and fuel, allowing only insufficient quantities in.

In recent weeks, aid has sporadically trickled into the territory, with Amman beginning to send relief trucks since the start of May. Aid deliveries through the vital Karam Abu Salem crossing have proved challenging due to Israeli protesters blocking the entry of relief, as well as the dangerous security situation in the area.

Tuesday’s incident came as Israeli forces killed a UN security service member on Monday, making the victim the first international UN worker to be killed amid the war in Gaza.

The incident was condemned by UN Security-General Antonio Guterres, who said he was “deeply saddened” by the UN staff member’s death. The victim’s nationality has not been revealed yet.

The humanitarian situation in Gaza remains dire, with basic necessities becoming increasingly scarce, particularly in the southernmost city of Rafah where 1.4 million Palestinians have sought refuge.

Over the months, multiple UN agencies have warned of a looming famine in northern parts of the Gaza Strip.

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