U.S. and European Officials Push for Gaza Aid to Pass Through Israeli Port

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American, British and European officials are pressuring Israel to let aid for Gaza transit through the Israeli port of Ashdod to help alleviate a metastasizing humanitarian crisis, according to six U.S. and European officials.

Israel’s military responded to the Hamas-led Oct. 7 attacks on Israel by invading and declaring a siege on Gaza, which was already under a yearslong blockade. It has since allowed limited amounts of aid into the enclave through two border points, one in Israel and the other in Egypt, but those deliveries have been bogged down by inspections and logistical snarls.

Humanitarian workers say vastly more aid is needed to meaningfully help Gaza’s 2.2 million residents amid dire shortages of food, water and supplies.

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken pressed Israeli officials about allowing Gaza aid through the port of Ashdod when he was in Tel Aviv earlier this month, according to one U.S. official. That official and the others interviewed about the new aid proposal spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive negotiations.

Under the new proposed agreement, aid would be shipped from Cyprus — an Israeli ally — to Ashdod, three of the officials said. From Ashdod, it would then be transported to Kerem Shalom, the Israeli border crossing through which aid has been allowed into Gaza, a European official said.

The ultimate goal, an American and a European official said, is to establish a workable alternative to delivering aid via Egypt in a way that satisfies Israel’s demand for security checks. Israeli officials have demanded stringent inspections on all supplies entering Gaza so as to weed out anything that could benefit Hamas.

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U.S. and European Officials Push for Gaza Aid to Pass Through Israeli Port

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