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US Sanctions Israel Group Attacking Aid Shipments

by | Jun 17, 2024

US Sanctions Israel Group Attacking Aid Shipments

by | Jun 17, 2024

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A damaged truck that was carrying humanitarian aid supplies for Gaza after it was vandalised by right-wing Israeli activists credit Oren ZIV / AFP

Tzav 9 has targeted humanitarian aid trucks traveling through the West Bank to Gaza

The US blacklisted an Israeli organization for interfering with aid shipments headed to Gaza. The group, Tzav 9, demands that no aid enter the Strip until all Israeli hostages are released and uses violence to curb deliveries of humanitarian assistance to Palestinians. The organization operates in open view of Israeli security forces and is supported by top officials in Tel Aviv.

In a press release published on Friday, the State Department described Tzav 9 as a “violent extremist Israeli group that has been blocking, harassing, and damaging convoys carrying lifesaving humanitarian assistance to Palestinian civilians in Gaza.”

“For months, individuals from Tzav 9 have repeatedly sought to thwart the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza, including by blockading roads, sometimes violently, along their route from Jordan to Gaza,” the statement continued. “On May 13, 2024, Tzav 9 members looted and then set fire to two trucks near Hebron in the West Bank carrying humanitarian aid destined for men, women, and children in Gaza.”

Tzav 9, or “Order 9,” refers to the call-up letter that Israeli reservists receive when they are ordered to active duty. The group receives support from Israeli National Security Minister Itmar Ben-Gvir, who has ordered police to leave the aid trucks unguarded.

National security adviser to President Joe Biden, Jake Sullivan, said the US has repeatedly brought up the interference with aid shipments to Tel Aviv. Israelis have obstructed the trucks since the days following the October 7 Hamas attack.

The blocking of humanitarian convoys has become more problematic since Israel attacked Rafah in early May and shuttered Gaza’s border crossing with Egypt. Now, most aid that enters Gaza comes from Jordan and must cross the West Bank, giving Tzav 9 ample opportunity to interfere with the meager supplies allowed into the Strip.

The group demands that Tel Aviv stop all aid from entering Gaza unless Hamas releases Israeli hostages and has used various methods to prevent aid from entering the Strip. Since October 7, Israeli civilians have held protests to prevent aid trucks from passing. However, Tzav 9 has also used violent means, including looting or destroying shipments, setting aid trucks on fire, and attacking drivers.

Tzav 9 is just part of a broader Israeli network that prevents assistance from reaching Gaza. Tel Aviv has implemented an onerous inspection regime for the trucks entering the Strip that slows the process and blocks life-saving aid deliveries. Additionally, Israeli forces have routinely attacked aid workers, trucks, and warehouses.

The people of Gaza desperately need the aid blocked by the Israeli government and groups like Tzav 9. World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters on Wednesday that “A significant proportion of Gaza’s population is now facing catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions.” UNICEF has warned that about 90 percent of children in Gaza lack nutrition and face “severe” threats to their “survival, growth and development.”

The US has previously sanctioned 13 Israeli settlers for their violent acts against Palestinians. The AP reported that the result was counterproductive, stating the “measures have had minimal impact, instead emboldening settlers as attacks and land-grabs escalate.”

While President Biden has taken some minimal steps to rein in Israel’s behavior, he continues to supply weapons to the IDF. The arms shipments act as a green light for the Israeli onslaught in Gaza, which has killed over 37,000 and reduced most of the Strip to rubble.

Reprinted from Antiwar.com

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of Antiwar.com and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.

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