Israel blocking more food than other aid in hunger-stalked Gaza: UN

Israel is blocking far more convoys carrying food aid within Gaza, where famine is looming, than convoys carrying other kinds of aid, the U.N. said Tuesday.

A spokesman for the United Nations' humanitarian agency pointed to statistics from March showing that it was much more difficult to get clearance for delivering food than other aid in the war-ravaged Palestinian territory.

"Food convoys that should be going particularly to the north, where 70 percent of people face famine conditions, are ... three times more likely to be denied than any other humanitarian convoys with other kinds of material," Jens Laerke told reporters in Geneva.

Israel is facing mounting international pressure to allow more aid into Gaza, which is facing a humanitarian catastrophe six months into the war that erupted after Hamas's unprecedented Oct. 7 attack inside Israel.

Israel meanwhile charges that the main problem is with U.N. aid distribution within Gaza.

COGAT, the Israeli defence ministry body that manages the flow of aid, said Tuesday on X, formerly Twitter, that "741 humanitarian aid trucks were inspected and transferred to the Gaza Strip over the last 2 days".

"Only 267 aid trucks were distributed by U.N. aid agencies inside Gaza (out of which 146 carried food)," it said.

"The aid is available, distribution is what matters."

- 'Meaningless' 

Laerke said such comparisons were "meaningless" for a number of reasons.

He pointed out that the trucks screened by COGAT were "typically only half-full. That is a requirement that they have put in place for screening purposes".

The trucks are then reloaded, filling them up fully, before moving on to the warehouses.

"Already there, the numbers...

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