To meet UN needs for water and sewage infrastructure support

Israel approves two daily fuel tankers to Gaza

PHOTO/AFP/MOHAMMED ABED - Camiones cargados de combustible entran en la Franja de Gaza a través del paso fronterizo de Rafah con Egipto
PHOTO/AFP/MOHAMMED ABED - Trucks loaded with fuel enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt

Israel's War Management Cabinet approved the entry through Egypt of two daily diesel tankers to cover UN needs for water and sewage infrastructure support, an Israeli government official told EFE.

"The War Cabinet unanimously approved a joint recommendation by the Israel Defence Forces and the Shin Bet (internal intelligence service) to comply with the US request and allow the entry of two diesel tankers a day for the UN's needs to support water and sewage infrastructure," the source said.

The international community has been pressing Israel for weeks to allow fuel into Gaza, which is also needed for the generation of electricity and the operation of many other basic civilian services, such as hospitals.

The source stressed that this measure "allows Israel to continue to have the international room for manoeuvre necessary to eliminate Hamas".

He further explained that "water tankers will pass through the Rafah crossing, through the UN, to the civilian population in the southern Gaza Strip, as long as it does not reach Hamas".

The Israeli source told Efe that "this action aims, among other things, to minimally support the water, sewage and sanitation systems, in order to prevent the outbreak of epidemics that could spread throughout the area, harm both the residents of the Strip and our forces, and even spread to Israel".

This announcement coincides with reports in the Egyptian media that around 150,000 litres of fuel intended for hospitals entered through the Rafah border crossing, which links the Strip with Egypt, today.

Egyptian television stations Al Qahera News and Extra News, which are close to the Egyptian government, said that "about 150,000 litres of fuel entered from Rafah for hospitals in the Gaza Strip".

Earlier on Friday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) representative in the occupied Palestinian territories, Richard Peeperkorn, said that a mechanism for the entry of fuel into the Strip could begin to operate, which "must be continuous to ensure the humanitarian operation".

He told reporters via video conference that the continuity of this system must be ensured to "get desalination plants, bakeries and telecommunications back up and running", although he could not elaborate on the regularity of the supply or whether Israel would place conditions on the use of the fuel.

Also, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Gaza Strip (UNRWA) warned that the increase of displaced people in the limited shelters has led to the spread of numerous diseases due to overcrowding and limited capacity to provide services.

"Overcrowding is causing a significant spread of diseases, including acute respiratory diseases and diarrhoea, poses environmental and health challenges and limits the Agency's capacity to provide services," UNRWA said in its report on the situation in the Palestinian enclave.

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