Israeli general eyes admitting fuel to Gaza if hospitals run out
The chief of Israel's armed forces signalled willingness on Thursday to ease its wartime embargo on fuel for the Gaza Strip, saying that if hospitals there run out they could be resupplied under supervision.
Following the surprise Hamas cross-border killing spree on Oct 7, Israel has besieged Gaza and waged a counter-offensive. It has allowed in humanitarian aid but ruled out fuel imports, citing a need to starve Hamas's power generators.
Hospitals in the Palestinian enclave have increasingly been raising alarms about their own electricity supplies waning.
"Note that, for more than a week now, they have been telling us that 'tomorrow the fuel in hospitals will run out'. So far it has not run out," Lieutenant-General Herzi Halevi said during a televised appearance, in response to a reporter's question.
"We will watch for when that day arrives. Fuel will be transferred, with monitoring, to the hospitals. We will do everything needed to ensure that it will not reach Hamas infrastructures, that it will not end up serving war aims but the real needs of treating the sick," he said.
Signalling that Israel was willing to escalate the war, including against Hamas's allies in Lebanon and elsewhere in the region, Halevi said the air force was currently bringing less than half of its capabilities to bear.
He also voiced appreciation for the support of the United States, which has dispatched naval reinforcements to the region.
"This partnership is important. It can reach issues of dialogue and intelligence-sharing, and it can also go far beyond that," he said without elaborating.