A humanitarian aid convoy bound for the Gaza Strip, is seen parked outside Rafah border gate, at the Rafah border crossing, Egypt, 31 October 2023. EFE/EPA/KHALED ELFIQI

US says it will not support any ‘forced relocation’ of Palestinians

Washington, Oct 31 (EFE) – White House National Security Council spokesman Admiral John Kirby said Tuesday that the United States “will not support any forced relocation of Palestinians outside of Gaza.”

Kirby made the remarks at the daily White House press briefing, saying the US is “supporting efforts for safe passage for civilians in Gaza,” but specifying he meant “those wishing to depart.”

Asked why foreign nationals have not been able to leave Gaza, Kirby said Hamas was “putting up obstacles” to prevent them from leaving.

The spokesman declined to comment on Israel’s bombing of the Jabalia refugee camp in Hamas-controlled northern Gaza on Tuesday, which killed at least 145 civilians and wounded several hundred, saying it had just happened and he had no information about it.

“We are not going to respond to every event in real time, but we’ve certainly recognized that civilians have been hurt, civilians have been killed to the tune of many thousands,” he said.

“Each and every one is a tragedy, each and every one we should work to prevent,” Kirby said. But he added that “unlike Russia in Ukraine and unlike what Hamas did on the 7th of October, the killing of civilians is not a war aim of Israel” and “they have tried to make efforts to minimize that.”

Asked about the death toll released by the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry, the spokesman said they were working to assess “the scope of the casualties” by “pulling from multiple different sources, we’re certainly not taking the Ministry of Health’s number at face value,” but that there had been “many thousands” of civilian deaths.

On the subject of essential aid, the spokesman noted that another 66 trucks of humanitarian aid have entered Gaza in the past 24 hours, “the largest single-day delivery so far.”

“It’s a trickle compared to what needs to get in,” Kirby said, adding that “dozens of more trucks” are expected to pass through today.

The spokesman said the US would continue to press for the resumption of essential services such as water and fuel deliveries, which Israel has so far refused to allow through. Fuel is needed to run Gaza’s desalination plants.

“We have seen no indication that Hamas has gotten its hands on any of the humanitarian assistance that has gone in,” he said. EFE