Aid airdrops over Gaza City. Credit: Kosay Al Nemer/ Reuters

The US will start airdrops of food and emergency supplies into Gaza in the next few days, Joe Biden has announced, amid UN warnings of famine and after Israeli troops opened fire on Gazans seeking food aid.

The use of airdrops is a spectacular but inefficient way of delivering aid, and Friday’s announcement suggests that Biden had given up on being able to persuade Israel in the near future to coordinate a large-scale ground-based relief effort under the threat of mass starvation across Gaza.

Critics suggested it represented no more than a gesture, which obscured Biden’s reluctance to use US leverage to force Israel to be more cooperative in the delivery of humanitarian aid.

“The loss of life is heartbreaking,” Biden said, making the announcement at the White House at a meeting with Italian prime minister, Giorgia Meloni. “People are so desperate that innocent people got caught in a terrible war unable to feed their families and you saw the response when they tried to get aid in.

“And we need to do more […]

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