REVEALED: The Gaza aid plan that could have prevented tragedy

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REVEALED: The Gaza aid plan that could have prevented tragedy

Proposal seen by Jewish News had IDF’s backing but Netanyahu’s office said: ‘What’s the rush?’

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

The deaths of seven aid workers in the Gaza Strip this week, among them three Britons, might have been avoided had an emergency plan for aid distribution launched as planned two months ago, documents obtained by Jewish News reveal.

A detailed proposal was presented to the Israeli government back in February by the head of humanitarian aid agency GDC (Global Delivery Company) in conjunction with a high-level American security company. The American government also received the plan.

GDC chief Moti Kahana, who provides logistical support and services to governments and non-profit organisations, has worked in numerous theatres of war including Syria, Ukraine and Afghanistan, rescuing civilians and providing vital goods and services.

World Central Kitchen vehicle. Courtesy: Twitter/X

Kahana revealed this week that two months ago he — together with the Americans — presented a plan to Israel which would have led to aid being safely delivered to Palestinians in Gaza but was told by the Benjamin Netanyahu’s office: “What’s the rush?”

The meticulous plan, seen by Jewish News, envisages the creation of “gated communities” in a safe space in the Strip and biometric recognition put in place for civilian recipients of aid. Those who did not pass the biometric tests would not have received aid. The gated communities are described as a Secure Humanitarian Logistics Corridor which, the plan states, “once established, can process and securely deliver humanitarian assistance from other sources across Gaza”.

British victim James (Jim) Henderson

The proposed cost of the six-month project would be around £160 million.

Kahana told Jewish News: “Israel has had this plan on the table for more than two months. We have had several meetings at the highest level to present the plan and go over the ideas. The army was in favour and we have been waiting for the green light, but when we asked if we could go ahead, the Prime Minister’s Office asked, ‘What’s the rush?’”

He told Jewish News: “GDC had spent time and money, out of our own pocket, to develop a realistic plan to deliver huge amounts of humanitarian relief to people in need in Gaza, while assuring that it does not fall into the hands of Hamas, other terrorist groups or criminals. Everyone agrees that right now much of the food that enters Gaza is stolen and diverted by Hamas. This, and Israeli restrictions on food being allowed in, were addressed by our plan.

“A detailed paper explaining our proposal was presented to the US and Israeli governments at very high levels. On the Israeli side the plan was discussed with the PM and his top aides. They were positive about it but delayed giving us final approval, or scheduling a meeting to discuss details.

“On the American side the paper was presented to high level officials of the White House, State Department and Department of Defence. We did not receive a response to our request for a meeting to discuss and explain the plan.

“Our experience calls into question the seriousness of both the Netanyahu and Biden governments to find a solution to the humanitarian tragedy in Gaza. Talk is cheap but the people of Gaza need action”.

The idea, according to the proposal presented to the Israeli government, would be to phase in the delivery of aid. In the first instance, there would be “mass food and water deliveries to alleviate hunger, and restore civil order to those areas, then progressively expand food aid into Gaza and eventually re-establish warehouses”.

One of those supportive of the scheme is Palestinian political analyst Samer Sinijlawi, who told Jewish News that “there is a Palestinian interest in general, to see international organisations have operations of humanitarian aid in Gaza.

British victim James Kirkby

“Now Gaza is on the edge of famine, people are starving. The tragedy of the World Central Kitchen was that they had just entered Gaza, with the full co-ordination of the Israeli army, and they were hit and killed.

“Now important countries, which were financing humanitarian aid, like the Emirates, have declared that they will stop their involvement.

“People are trying to save lives in Gaza, but there is a lack of understanding on the Israeli side that this is something important.”

Palestinians would very much like to see organisations such as Kahana’s going into Gaza and providing much-needed food and provisions, he said.

Sinijlawi said he had seen the joint GDC and American plan and believed that, “I can trust these organisations, they have worked intensively in 40 or 50 countries and have done an excellent job. If they have succeeded elsewhere they should succeed in Gaza.

“It’s a political challenge, now — but the decision-maker in Israel needs to allow it.”

British victim John Chapman

He did not believe that the two companies would have any problem in hiring local Palestinians to help deliver the aid. “People, logistics, equipment — that can be done. But they [GDC and the Americans] need to be there physically.

“It cannot be more urgent. We should be worried about every hour that we lose, not every day.”

The Israeli prime minister’s office has been asked for comment.

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