May 20, 2024

A day after President Biden announced plans for maritime aid delivery to the Gaza Strip, European leaders said Friday they would deliver aid by ship as early as the weekend. But aid groups and Gaza officials criticized shipments by air or sea as too cumbersome, urging that vastly more food and medicine be supplied by trucks.

The complications of delivering aid to the hungry residents of Gaza were underlined on Friday when the authorities in Gaza said at least five Palestinians were killed and several others were wounded after they were struck by packages of humanitarian aid that were dropped from an aircraft.

The United Nations has warned that five months of war and an Israeli blockade have left hundreds of thousands of Gazans on the brink of starvation, prompting a variety of proposals to speed the delivery of food and other vital needs. Israel insists on inspecting all supplies going into Gaza, and aid trucks have been allowed in through just two border crossings — one from Egypt and one from Israel — in southern Gaza.

President Biden on Thursday night outlined a U.S. military plan to build a floating pier on Gaza’s Mediterranean coast to supply food, water, medicine and other necessities to civilians, saying the operation would “enable a massive increase” in the assistance entering the territory.

But U.S. officials said the project would take at least 30 to 60 days to complete, raising questions about how famine in Gaza will be staved off in the critical days ahead.

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