'Absolute outrage': White House condemns Israeli settler attack on Gaza aid trucks Gaza

The White House has condemned an attack on an aid convoy to Gaza by Israeli settlers who threw food packages on the road and set fire to vehicles.

Video of the incident on Monday shows settlers at the Tarqamiya checkpoint west of Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Stopping trucks and dumping boxes of essential supplies on the ground. Pictures taken from the scene show piles of damaged aid packages and piles of rice and flour on the road.

Late on Monday, pictures of trucks on fire began circulating on social media.

Israel is facing intense international pressure to speed up the flow of aid to Gaza, where international organizations have warned that more than two million people are at risk of a severe humanitarian crisis.

“It's absolutely outrageous that there are people who are attacking and looting convoys from Jordan that are going to Gaza to bring humanitarian aid,” US national security adviser Jack Sullivan told reporters. Aid can be provided on the basis of

“We're looking at the tools we have to respond to that,” he added. “We are also voicing our concerns at the highest levels of the Israeli government and this is something we do not talk about – this is completely and utterly unacceptable behaviour.”

Citing a U.S. report released Friday on Israel's compliance with international humanitarian law, Sullivan said the Israeli state had blocked aid deliveries in the recent past but had substantially reduced the flow. What was improved so as not to be subject to restrictions on military aid? Required under US law.

“We believe there were periods over the last few weeks where there were restrictions that had to be worked out,” Sullivan said. “But at the time we put forward this report, we realized that there was enough work being done by the Israeli government to facilitate humanitarian aid, that we decided not to do anything about the U.S. Help.”

Israeli settlers who threw food packets on the road and set cars on fire. Photo: Anadolu/Getty Images

The police do not seem to have intervened to stop the looting, although four people, including a minor, were later reported to have been arrested.

This is not the first time that settlers have tried to block the flow of aid to Gaza, which is already only a fraction of what the population of the territory needs.

Last week, Israeli protesters blocked a road near the desert town of Mitzpe Ramon to protest the delivery of aid trucks to the Strip. Demonstrators – who say the aid is helping Hamas and want to block it until all Israeli hostages are released – staged a sit-in as they strewed rocks on the road to block vehicles from passing through. There was a traffic jam.

Israel's siege of Gaza has created what aid officials are calling a “man-made famine,” with the region facing the threat of mass starvation and children already starving.

In March, the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to allow unhindered access of food aid to Gaza, where parts of the population are facing starvation.

Aid efforts have been further complicated by the temporary closure of the headquarters of the main humanitarian aid channel for Palestinians after weeks of violent protests and arson attacks by Israeli right-wing activists.

The United Nations agency for Palestine refugees announced on Thursday the closure of its East Jerusalem headquarters, which the agency's head, Philippe Lazzarini, described as “Israeli extremists.”

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