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‘Pure evil’: Israeli settlers go on rampage, block and destroy Gaza-bound aid trucks

By Maryam Qarehgozlou

Video footage from a checkpoint west of al-Khalil in the occupied West Bank showed a group of illegal Israeli settlers blocking aid trucks headed to the war-ravaged Gaza Strip on Monday, throwing food packets onto the road, ripping bags of grain open, and setting fire to vehicles.

Dozens of settlers at the Tarquimya checkpoint were seen in widely circulated videos ransacking the trucks loaded with aid packages sent from Jordan with opened cartons carrying food material lying scattered on the road in a third such incident this month alone.

Adel Amr, a member of the Shipping Syndicate in Palestine, was quoted as saying by Palestinian media that a total of 98 trucks carrying food and relief supplies were blocked from reaching Gaza on Monday.

“[Settlers] damaged the trucks’ tires and vandalized the cargo, throwing the parcels of food on the ground and tearing them apart,” Amr said.

Photographs from the scene also showed heaps of aid boxes lying in ruins and drifts of rice and flour scattered along the roadway, originally meant for starving Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Some videos and photos showed vehicles being set ablaze later that evening at a time when Gaza’s 2.3 million population is struggling for a loaf of bread, with the UN’s World Food Programme warning that Palestinians in northern Gaza are experiencing a “full-blown famine.”

‘Pure evil’

Qasim Rashid, a US-based human rights lawyer, wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter, on Monday that what Israeli settlers are doing to the aid material amounts to a “war crime.”

“As Gazans suffer famine and disease, Israeli settlers block and destroy aid to Gaza. To Be Clear—People illegally occupying Palestine are now also illegally blocking aid to Palestinian civilians, which is also a war crime. Where is the accountability?” Rashid said.

UK-based journalist and influencer Sulaiman Ahmed also shared a video of trucks carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza that had been set ablaze, describing Zionism as a “cancer in humanity.”

“This is barbaric. There are children starving...dying of hunger in Gaza,” he wrote.

Medea Benjamin, a peace activist and co-founder of the anti-war group CODEPINK, also took to X and said attacking aid trucks carrying food for the starving people in Gaza is “pure evil.”

“This is pure evil. These Israeli thugs are destroying food destined to feed hungry people in Gaza, while soldiers do nothing. And US politicians continue to support Israel?” she wrote.

No police intervention

According to media reports, police refused to intervene to stop the looting and vandalism by illegal settlers, who have in the past attacked Palestinians under the cover of Israeli police.

Israeli media reported that a group called Order 9 is responsible for the attacks on aid convoys.

The group claims that the aid goes “directly” into the hands of the Gaza-based Hamas resistance movement, adding that as long as Israel “gives gifts” to Hamas, the movement would not be interested in a deal that would free Israeli captives held in Gaza since October 7.

However, earlier this month, it was Hamas that agreed to an Egyptian and Qatari ceasefire and captive release proposal, while Israeli officials insisted Tel Aviv would not agree to any truce deal that puts an end to the war and pressed ahead with the planned invasion of southern Gaza’s city of Rafah.

According to media reports, Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israeli far-right minister, who vehemently opposes aid flow into Gaza, has instructed the police not to get involved and even slammed the Israeli army for aiding the police in cracking down on settlers that block humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Not the first time

This is not the first time that settlers have tried to block the flow of aid to Gaza. Similar attacks have occurred in the past few months against aid convoys heading to Gaza, where the seven-month genocidal war rages on, killing at least 35,100 Palestinians, most of them children and women.

Last Tuesday, nearly 250 Israeli settlers blocked the roads in Latrun, a small illegal settlement close to the occupied al-Quds, preventing aid trucks coming from Jordan from passing through.

Similar to the recent attack, social media footage showed settlers breaking into the aid trucks, damaging the supplies and dumping the food material on the ground.

In a statement, Jordanian Foreign Ministry spokesman Sufyan Qudah said the kingdom held Israel responsible for the attack and deemed Israel’s failure to prevent such incidents a “violation of its legal obligations.”

On May 1, Israeli settlers also attacked two Jordanian aid convoys carrying food to Gaza, one through the Kerem Shalom crossing and another through a crossing in the northern Gaza Strip.

Moreover, Philippe Lazzarini, the head of the UN Palestine refugee agency (UNRWA), announced on Thursday that he had to temporarily close UNRWA’s headquarters in occupied East al-Quds due to an “outrageous” arson attack by what he described as “Israeli extremists.”

The closure of the headquarters of the main channel for humanitarian support for Palestinians, which was a target of relentless settler attacks for weeks according to Lazzarini, could further complicate aid efforts in Gaza.

‘A dire shortage’

The settler attacks on aid convoys come as humanitarian organizations, hampered by Israeli restrictions, have been able to provide only a fraction of life-saving aid since the war was launched on October 7.

The daily aid delivery into Gaza falls short of the minimum UN requirement to stave off the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the besieged Palestinian territory, according to experts.

UN aid agencies and other humanitarian groups say Gaza needs at least 500 to 600 trucks of humanitarian aid and commercial goods daily to sustain the dire situation in the besieged territory.

Amid total siege on Gaza since October 7, Israel has “destroyed Gaza’s food system” and “used food as a weapon” against the Palestinian people, according to UN human rights experts.

This has created what aid officials are referring to as “man-made starvation.” The besieged territory is now facing the threat of mass deaths from famine with children already dying from hunger.

The World Food Programme estimates around 1.1 million people across Gaza, around half of the population, are “struggling with catastrophic hunger and starvation.”

Israel’s military aggression against Rafah, where more than 1.5 million internally displaced Palestinians are sheltering, began last week and according to senior US officials, the Israeli military has gathered enough troops at the edge of the city to launch a full-scale invasion in the coming days, defying warnings.

Aid agencies say getting supplies through another southern crossing, the so-called Kerem Shalom, is also extremely difficult due to the security situation there.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk warned on Sunday that there is a “dire shortage” of aid reaching Gaza.

Türk said he was “deeply distressed by the fast deterioration in Gaza as Israeli forces intensify their air strikes” across Gaza.

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