The White House: Israel will allow flour to be shipped to Gaza through the port of Ashdod

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The White House announced on Friday, after a call between President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, that Israel will allow flour to be shipped to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip through the port of Ashdod.

This comes days after the United Nations asked Israel to allow the port to be used to deliver urgent humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, which has been completely besieged since the start of the war.

The White House said in a statement, “The President welcomed the decision of the Israeli government to allow flour to be shipped directly to the Palestinian people through the port of Ashdod”.

He added, “Our teams are working separately on larger, direct options for delivering aid by sea to Gaza”.

Washington has supported Israel’s offensive on Gaza since the October 7 Hamas attacks, while also calling on the Israelis to allow more aid in for Palestinian civilians.

Three United Nations agencies, namely the World Food Program, UNICEF and the World Health Organization, called in a joint statement issued on Monday to provide access to the port of Ashdod.

The organizations said that the use of Ashdod port, located about 40 kilometers north of the Gaza border, is absolutely necessary for relief agencies, and they also called for a radical change in the flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza.

The war between Israel and Hamas has sparked a humanitarian catastrophe for Gaza’s 2.4 million residents, who struggle to access food, water, fuel and medical care.

The World Food Program’s regional director for the Middle East, Corinne Fleischer, told AFP earlier this month that opening Ashdod port would reduce the time it takes to transport food to Gazans.

In December, Israel agreed to temporarily allow aid to be delivered to Gaza through the Kerem Shalom border crossing in the southeast of the Gaza Strip, opening a new route for supplies after weeks of pressure.

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