Fuel transfer to Gaza approved; ministers voice opposition

The security cabinet approved on Sunday the limited transfer of fuel to Gaza, despite three senior ministers expressing their opposition.

Ministers Bezalel Smotrich (Religious Zionism), Itamar Ben-Gvir (Otzma Yehudit), and Miri Regev (Likud) voted against, while Minister Gideon Sa’ar (National Unity Party) abstained.

It was also decided that all future decisions regarding fuel imports into Gaza would require approval from the expanded cabinet, and must also include the issue of hostage release, as proposed by Minister Israel Katz.

Those who strongly criticized the decision claim it contradicts the initial decision during the war to refrain from transferring water, electricity, and fuel to Gaza. They demanded that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately convene the cabinet to discuss the matter. 

Smotrich’s opposition

Smotrich even sent a strongly-worded letter to the prime minister, urging him to amend the limited composition of the War Cabinet by including a representative from each coalition faction. However, sources close to the prime minister have stated that there are no plans to make such a change at present.

Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich is seen at a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, in Jerusalem, on July 19, 2023. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

On Saturday night, Netanyahu clarified during a press conference that this decision does not signify a change in policy, but rather a “specific response to the Americans’ request to prevent the outbreak of epidemics. This is a minimal amount of fuel without which we are likely to have an outbreak.”

In response to these comments, Ben-Gvir stated Sunday morning that “the United States would never give fuel to someone who holds its hostages.”


In an interview with 103FM, the national security minister emphasized the need for consideration of a red line, which is the protection of one’s own people. He added, “We must do everything in our power to bring our abductees home.” 

He further criticized the war cabinet, expressing his concern that those who led the country’s security systems were ultimately responsible for its decisions. He also brought up past issues, stating, “When I advocated for targeted countermeasures, they treated me like a clown. Water can be distributed in other ways, not by means of fuel. Even if I know it won’t reach Hamas, I believe that until we have information about the abductees and the situation of women and children, nothing should enter Gaza, especially not fuel.

“The Americans should be told that they would never give gas to someone who holds their hostages and whose situation remains unknown. They don’t even receive visits from the Red Cross, yet fuel is being supplied to them.”

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