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War on Gaza: Prominent Gaza tribes refuse to cooperate with Israel for aid distribution

Spokespeople say they expect any co-operation to be facilitated through government officials and security services in Gaza
A Palestinian woman sits on a cart next to a box of food rations provided by US charity World Central Kitchen at a makeshift street market in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on 14 March (AFP)
A Palestinian woman sits on a cart next to a box of food rations provided by US charity World Central Kitchen at a makeshift street market in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on 14 March (AFP)

Prominent tribes in Gaza said on Wednesday that they reject any cooperation with Israel regarding the distribution of aid.

The decision came after a report in Israeli media stated Israel’s plans to divide areas in Gaza into areas governed by tribes, who would assume responsibility of distributing aid there. 

According to local media, the tribes spoke on behalf of families in Gaza, who said that they are willing to cooperate on the distribution of aid on the condition that it is done in collaboration with security services and government officials in Gaza.

According to a source who spoke to Al Jazeera Arabic, officials from the UN Refugee and Works Agency (Unrwa) and police officials in Gaza will be meeting on Saturday to agree on the delivery of aid. 

Speaking to Shehab News, the head of the Supreme Commission for Family Affairs, Abu Salman al-Mughni, said that their “position is one and constant, and will not be changing”.

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“All of the tribes, and I speak on behalf of all of them, cannot accept being an alternative to the government. We cannot stand in place of the people we choose to represent us,” he said. 

“The tribes cannot rule and are not qualified for this matter, they only reconcile relations and support the government in performing its work,” he added.

Al-Mughni said that while some people have been cooperating with Israel, they “are not from our tribes and do not belong to the people of Palestine or Gaza.”

Hamas responded to the statement, praising what it described as a “responsible position” of the tribes in the face of “malicious plans of the Israeli occupation”.

“The families’ decision proves the unity and cohesion of our Palestinian society, and their support for the resistance and national unity,” the group said in a statement. 

Dividing Gaza

A report by the Israeli Kan news channel in January stated that Israel plans to divide Gaza into “regions and sub districts, with each clan controlling a district and will be responsible for distributing humanitarian aid”.

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The report added that the clans would be “known to the army and the Israeli general security service,” who will manage civil life in Gaza for a temporary period. However, the report did not outline how long the period would last. 

Since the start of the war on 7 October, the Israeli government has stated that it will not allow the Palestinian Authority or Hamas to manage the Gaza Strip after the war comes to an end. 

Since February, Israeli forces have killed over 400 Palestinians as they wait for aid deliveries, with 11 aid seekers killed on Tuesday in Gaza City, the government media office in Gaza said this week.

The killings are the latest in a spate of attacks on civilians during attempted aid deliveries, even as the US pushes for more humanitarian assistance for the enclave.

At least 118 Palestinians were killed and hundreds more wounded last week when Israeli forces fired at people gathering to receive aid in Gaza City's al-Rasheed Street.

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