JERUSALEM: Israel on Wednesday approved a “minimal” increase in fuel supplies to war-torn Gaza to prevent a “humanitarian collapse,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said.
The announcement comes as the United Nations warned of a total breakdown of public order in Gaza as fighting intensifies in the south of the Palestinian territory.
A “minimal supplement of fuel — necessary to prevent a humanitarian collapse and the outbreak of epidemics” had been approved to enter “into the southern Gaza Strip,” Netanyahu’s office wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
It said the fuel supply increase was “necessary to avoid a humanitarian collapse and the outbreak of epidemics in the south of the Gaza Strip,” which is controlled by Hamas.
“The minimal amount will be determined from time to time by the War Cabinet according to the morbidity situation and humanitarian situation in the Strip,” it added.
On Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he feared that public order would “completely break down soon” in Gaza.
“Amid constant bombardment by the Israel Defense Forces, and without shelter or the essentials to survive, I expect public order to completely break down soon due to the desperate conditions, rendering even limited humanitarian assistance impossible,” he said in a letter to the UN Security Council.
For the first time since becoming UN chief in 2017, Guterres invoked Article 99 of the Charter, which allows him to “bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security.”
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen hit back, saying Guterres’ mandate was a “danger to world peace.”
G7 leaders, including Israel’s key partners, called on Wednesday for “more urgent” action to tackle the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
Israel’s announcement comes two days after its main ally, the United States, called for more fuel to be allowed into Gaza, with US diplomats referring to “very frank conversations.”
More than 16,200 people, most of them women and children, have been killed in Gaza by Israeli bombardments since October, according to Hamas health officials.
Fighting between Israel and Hamas began when Hamas militants launched a deadly cross-border attack on October 7, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli authorities.