Israel’s war cabinet voted in favor of increasing the flow of fuel into Gaza late Wednesday as the Israel Defense Forces backed Hamas into a corner in the city of Khan Younis.
Israel has heavily restricted the flow of fuel over the two months of war with Hamas since the Oct. 7 massacre, but the U.S. has been pressuring the country to increase output. Reports from local media say daily shipments of fuel will gradually rise from the current 60,000 liters to 180,000 liters in the coming days.
The move comes as the IDF has pushed back Hamas terrorists to their final military stronghold of Khan Younis, the second most populous city in Gaza.
IDF troops encircled the home of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar on Wednesday, but he is believed to be coordinating his forces from a labyrinth of underground tunnels.
Humanitarian organizations say the fuel is desperately needed for hospitals to reliably run, among other things. Israel has warned in the past, however, that Hamas regularly plunders local supplies for its own purposes.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that the IDF will have to maintain “security control” over Gaza long after the war is over. The declaration set up a potential conflict with the U.S., which has repeatedly warned that an extended occupation of Gaza by Israel would be a “mistake.”
President Biden has called for a two-state solution to be negotiated at the end of the war. Netanyahu has already dismissed the idea of transferring control over to the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority.
“No international force can be responsible for this,” Netanyahu told reporters during a Monday press conference. “I’m not ready to close my eyes and accept any other arrangement.”
While the Israeli military is making steady progress against Hamas, the fate of the roughly 138 hostages remaining in terrorist custody hangs in the balance.