Secretary of State Antony Blinken has admitted to lawmakers Tuesday that ‘we have to anticipate’ some of the humanitarian aid flowing into the Gaza Strip will end up in the hands of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.
Blinken made the remark in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee as he said the U.S. is trying to coordinate 100 trucks of aid per day into the conflict zone this week, arguing that it is the ‘bare minimum of what is needed.’
‘Can I promise you in this committee that there’ll be 100% delivery to the designated recipients? No, there will inevitably be some spillage,’ he said. ‘We haven’t seen it to date, but I think we have to anticipate that. But the overwhelming, overwhelming majority of the assistance thus far is getting to people who need it. And we need more.’
Blinken said so far, the U.S. has gotten up to 50 trucks of aid per day into the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
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‘Before the conflict in Gaza, before Hamas’ aggression against Israel and its response, the U.N. and other agencies and other organizations providing relief were sending in between 500 and 800 hundred trucks a day,’ he said. ‘Right now, we’re up to almost 60. We’re trying to get to 100 this week.’
When asked about the process to make sure the aid is not going to terrorists, Blinken said ‘from day one, we have been working with the Israeli government, with Egypt, with the U.N. agencies, as well as with other actors to try to make sure that assistance could get in to people who need it in Gaza, but get in, in a way that doesn’t go to the people who don’t need it. And that’s Hamas.
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‘So we’ve set up a system where assistance is coming through Rafah, the gate between Egypt and Gaza. The assistance is checked by Israel at a site that has been established to do that, so that every truck that goes in is verified by Israel as well as by the Egyptian authorities. The trucks go in. These are U.N. trucks. They go in, they connect to other U.N. trucks on the other side of the line in Gaza. These trucks then go to distribution facilities that are run by U.N. agencies,’ Blinken explained.
‘The supplies are then taken from those agencies to various points to hospitals to bakeries, because bread is critical and to other end points throughout this process, we have an ability and others have an ability to track where the assistance is going,’ he added. ‘We’re then able to do monitoring on the other end by contacting the designated recipients to ensure that it’s actually gotten to where it’s supposed to go and not been diverted.