Israel’s Ambassador to Ireland has insisted her country’s blockade on food, water and medical supplies entering Gaza is not in breach of international law.
Israel began its ‘complete siege’ of Gaza on October 9th after Hamas threatened to start killing hostages it had taken during its attack the previous day.
The siege effectively cuts off the 2.2 million people living in Gaza from basic humanitarian aid – with very little travelling in or out of the area for over two weeks.
The first trucks carrying aid were permitted to enter Gaza at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt over the weekend; however, just 20 trucks were permitted to cross, with hundreds more waiting at the border.
In all, around 50 aid trucks have so far made it through from Egypt, with aid agencies on the ground in Gaza saying the situation for civilians is dire.
Meanwhile, Israel has insisted that any aid shipments entering the area do not include fuel.
On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, Israeli Ambassador Dana Erlich said her country is acting within international law.
“It is not just something that I think – this is our legal analysis and knowledge that [it is] based on,” she said.
“Every act that we do, we make sure that it abides by international law.
“So yes, when you are in a war - and this is based on the rules of law that again, we are committed to, Hamas is not - you are allowed to stop your enemy from any equipment they might need.
“You need to make sure that the population gets the humanitarian aid and this is what we have been doing with the trucks.”
The United Nations has urged Israel to allow more aid into Gaza – noting that the aid that has gone in so far has met just a tiny fraction of the need in the enclave.
It also warned that fuel is crucial for the people stuck there.
Ambassador Erlich said many people in Ireland do not understand the legal aspects of the siege.
“I hear a lot in the Irish media or by elected officials that what Israel is doing is not legal,” she said.
“This is what I am emphasising - and I just had another conversation with our legal advisor, who is one of the world’s legal experts on all of this - what we are doing is abiding by international law.
“We are letting humanitarian aid go in. 50 trucks went in.”
Ambassador Erlich doubled down on her country’s claim that Hamas has enough stockpiles of “whatever the population needs” to take care of the people of Gaza.
“It sounds absurd I know because one with a logical mind in the Western free world cannot comprehend but yes Hamas, the same terror organisation that controls Gaza has enough stockpiles for them and other populations,” she said.
“They could have used the fuel they had for the hospital, they could have used the fuel for the water pumps, they could have used all of what they have for the benefit of their people.”
The Palestinian Health Ministry has said more than 5,000 people have been killed in Gaza since Israel began its air assault in response to the devastating Hamas attack on October 8th.
The attack saw the Islamist militant group killing more than 1,400 people in a single day.
Hamas on Monday freed two Israeli women who were among the more than 200 hostages taken during the assault – the third and fourth hostages to be released by the group.
You can listen back here:
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) October 24, 2023