United States and Israeli officials have "identified mechanisms to enable fuel to reach hospitals and other needs," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday, as the situation in Gaza's healthcare facilities continues to deteriorate.
The issue of getting fuel into Gaza was expected to be a key focus of Blinken’s conversations in Tel Aviv, and a source familiar with the discussion told CNN that it was one of the top US diplomat’s most notable pushes.
It is unclear when the mechanisms may be put into action. The source said Israel’s wartime cabinet was not very receptive given the difficulties in ensuring that fuel is for humanitarian purposes. Israeli officials have repeatedly said they believe Hamas will steal the fuel.
“Israel has raised appropriate concerns, concerns that we share” about Hamas siphoning off the fuel, Blinken said at a press conference in Tel Aviv, adding that the group’s “cynicism knows no bounds.”
Blinken said he “spoke to Israeli leaders about tangible steps that can be taken to increase the sustained delivery of food, water, medicine, fuel and other essential needs while putting in place measures to prevent diversion by Hamas and other terrorist groups.”
Blinken said conversations would continue “about getting assistance to flow, including with help from the United Nations.”
The situation in Gaza's hospitals: A woman sheltering in Gaza’s largest medical facility told CNN that piles of both trash and people line the hospital’s corridors, with many “sleeping on the floors because residents feel hospitals are safe.”
“The smell of death is everywhere,” she said. “The smell of blood is everywhere.”
Gaza’s leading cancer hospital, the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship hospital, has stopped operating due to Israeli bombardment and fuel shortages, the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health said in a statement Wednesday.
Israel has claimed that there is fuel in Gaza, but that it is under Hamas’ control. CNN cannot independently verify the amount of fuel in the enclave.
Hospitals in the heavily battered enclave are “hanging by a thread,” the UN said Monday, adding that around 10 hospitals in Gaza are still operational. But those facilities are constantly receiving evacuation orders, the UN added.