Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a speech yesterday that he told President Biden privately during their Wednesday meeting that any aid from Israel to Gaza would continue to be blocked until the Israeli hostages held in Gaza are released.
“Regarding the captives, I clarified three things for President Biden,” Netanyahu said “First, I demanded the return of our captives, and we are working together for their return in every way possible.”
“Second, until their return, we demand Red Cross visits for our captives,” he continued.
“Third, we will not allow humanitarian assistance, in the form of food and medicines, from our territory to the Gaza Strip.”
Following a request from Biden, Netanyahu said Wednesday that a limited amount of humanitarian aid would be allowed into Gaza from Egypt.
Egypt, the only country other than Israel to share a border with Gaza, has been preparing its aid. Israel’s military has been adamant that it will allow Egypt to deliver the aid — as long as it is only food, water and medicine.
Biden, speaking in Tel Aviv, announced the aid deal from Egypt and confirmed $100 million of U.S. funding for assistance to civilians in Gaza. Biden spoke to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, who would allow up to 20 trucks of humanitarian aid to enter Gaza at the Rafah border crossing.
An Israeli military spokesperson said Thursday that the families of the more than 200 people believed to have been taken hostage by Hamas and taken into Gaza had been notified.
The war, one of the deadliest in the Gaza region, began on Oct. 7 after Hamas militants entered Israel and conducted a surprise attack, and Netanyahu vowed to destroy the group.
The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said 3,785 Palestinians have been killed and nearly 12,500 others have been wounded. More than 1,400 people in Israel were also killed in the initial attack.
More than 1 million Palestinians, roughly half of Gaza’s population, have also been forced to flee areas in the north after Israel told them to evacuate.
Although there are some hopes that aid trucks may be able to cross the border from Egypt to Gaza today, CNN claims to have talked to sources that say this is unlikely.
World leaders are to attend a peace summit in Egypt this weekend.
As concerns grow of an escalation in the Israel-Hamas war, sources have told Reuters that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will attend the Cairo International Summit for Peace.
A list of other confirmed attendees includes:
- Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni
- South African President Cyril Ramaphosa
- Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
- French foreign minister Catherine Colonna
- Japanese foreign minister Yoko Kamikawa
“I plan to visit Egypt to take part in the Cairo Peace Summit, which will be hosted by the Egyptian government to discuss the situation surrounding Israel and Palestine,” Ms Kamikawa said.
Sources: The Hill, AP, BBC, News agencies.