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The first humanitarian aid convoy since the start of the Israel-Gaza war arrived in the densely populated territory of Gaza on Saturday.

Gaza’s more than 2 million inhabitants will need many more shipments of food, water and medicine for the foreseeable future due to what Israeli officials have called a “full siege.” Aid donors and United Nations personnel on the ground will have to keep thinking through the complex factors that arise whenever the people in power have a track record of brutality – as is the case with Hamas in Gaza.

Aid workers and officials need to decide “to what extent they can work with governments and local authorities that commit violent acts,” writes Topher L. McDougal, a scholar of peace and conflict economics. This cooperation happens “in exchange for the access required to help civilians under their control.”

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Palestinians on the outskirts of Gaza City walk by buildings destroyed by Israeli bombardment on Oct. 20, 2023. AP Photo/Ali Mahmoud

Delivering aid during war is tricky − here’s what to know about what Gaza relief operations may face

Topher L. McDougal, University of San Diego

The politics of delivering aid in war zones are messy, the ethics fraught and the logistics daunting. But getting everything right is essential − and in this instance could save many Gazans’ lives.

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