Following the War Cabinet’s decision to approve an increased fuel allowance for the Gaza Strip, both Former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir have publically criticized the decision, according to Israeli media.
The Prime Minister’s Office announced on Wednesday night that it would be increasing the fuel allowed into Gaza in order to ward off an imminent humanitarian collapse as well as prevent disease outbreaks.
The amount permitted to enter would be decided on a situational basis according to “the morbidity situation and humanitarian situation.”
The Security Cabinet, this evening, approved the recommendation of the War Cabinet to allow a minimal supplement of fuel – necessary to prevent a humanitarian collapse and the outbreak of epidemics – into the southern Gaza Strip.
— Prime Minister of Israel (@IsraeliPM) December 6, 2023
Dissatisfaction with the War Cabinet
Ben-Gvir was one of the dissenting votes in the War Cabinet, another was Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich.
During the meeting, Ben-Gvir said “This fuel is used by Hamas. We said a few weeks ago that not a drop would enter and suddenly we changed the red line? In order to defeat Hamas and terrorism, we must stop with the concept.”
While Bennett said “Bringing fuel into Gaza during a war constitutes an injection of energy to Hamas. This is a grave error, certainly when it happens while our abductees are being held in inhumane conditions and against international law, and are not even visited by the Red Cross.”
“The fuel is the oxygen – in the literal sense – of Hamas. Without it, Hamas will collapse. Hamas uses fuel for the ventilation and lighting systems in the terrorist tunnels, for the movement of armed men, and for terrorist activities against us. Those who send our soldiers to fight against a cynical enemy must know how to withstand pressures, also of friends, at such a crucial point in the war.”
Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer defended the decision as “critical” citing the need for continued American support. This comes as US officials begin putting pressure on Israel to put more effort into protecting civilians in the Gaza Strip.