Gaza aid port plans, air drops ‘sign of international weakness’: Amnesty chief

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Efforts to deliver aid to war-torn Gaza by constructing a seaport or through airdrops are a sign of international powerlessness to tend the conflict, the head of Amnesty International said Wednesday.

Gaza is suffering a severe humanitarian crisis as Israel’s war on Hamas drags on, with the United Nations warning of looming famine as the flow of aid trucks from Egypt has slowed.

For the latest updates on the Israel-Palestine conflict, visit our dedicated page.

With only a small fraction of the basic supplies needed to sustain Gaza’s 2.4 million people coming in by land, foreign governments have turned to airdrops and a maritime corridor from Cyprus.

But Agnes Callamard, Amnesty’s secretary general, said nobody was holding Israel to account over the delays to deliveries by land.

“The international community must be prepared to hold Israel to account... We’re not holding the stick that will allow for those violations to stop,” she said in Madrid.

“So the airdrops, the construction of a port, are a sign of powerlessness and weakness on the part of the international community.”

Earlier this month, US President Joe Biden said Washington was planning to establish a temporary port for aid deliveries to Gaza, which the Pentagon said would take up to 60 days and involve 1,000 US personnel.

But Callamard said it was a “huge concern” that the international community seemed to have accepted that the deadly conflict would drag on for another two months.

“A huge concern is that the proposed investment into building a port and transporting humanitarian assistance via sea appears to indicate that the international community... are expecting the situation to last. Why are you making an investment that is going to take two months?” she said.

“That is extremely worrisome. More than 30,000 people have died.”

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The war began with Hamas’s October 7 attack that resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of official figures.

Israel’s retaliatory campaign against Hamas has killed at least 31,272 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

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At least 31,272 killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza since Oct. 7: Ministry

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