Israel Helped Organize Convoy That Ended in Disaster

The Gaza aid convoy that ended in bloodshed this week was organized by Israel itself as part of a newly hatched partnership with local Palestinian businessmen, according to Israeli officials, Palestinian businessmen and Western diplomats.

Israel has been involved in at least four such aid convoys to northern Gaza over the past week. It undertook the effort, Israeli officials told two Western diplomats, to fill a void in assistance to northern Gaza, where famine looms as international aid groups have suspended most operations, citing Israeli refusals to greenlight aid trucks and rising lawlessness. The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the matter.

Israeli officials reached out to multiple Gazan businessmen and asked them to help organize private aid convoys to the north, two of the businessmen said, while Israel would provide security.

The United Nations has warned that more than 570,000 Gazans — particularly in northern Gaza — are facing “catastrophic levels of deprivation and starvation” after nearly five months of war and an almost complete Israeli blockade of the territory after the Oct. 7 attacks led by Hamas.

Some residents have resorted to raiding the pantries of neighbors who fled their homes, while others have been grinding up animal feed for flour. U.N. aid convoys carrying essential goods to northern Gaza have been looted — either by civilians fearing starvation or organized gangs — amid the anarchy that has followed Israel’s ground invasion.

“My family, friends, and neighbors are dying from hunger,” said Jawdat Khoudary, a Palestinian businessman who helped organize some of the trucks involved in the Israeli relief initiative.

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