US 'airdrops Tabasco sauce, Skittles sweets' as part of Gaza aid

US 'airdrops Tabasco sauce, Skittles sweets' as part of Gaza aid
In a video posted to social media, a man opened an aid package to reveal contents including a small bottle of Tabasco sauce, and a packet of Skittles sweets.
5 min read
07 March, 2024
Israel is waging a brutal war on Gaza which has left the strip devastated and killed 30,800 people [AFP/Getty]

Bottles of Tabasco sauce and Skittles were included in the first US airdrop on Gaza on Saturday, according to videos posted on social media, with anger growing about Western aid to the besieged enclave particularly with continued support for Israel.

The US Department of Defense (DoD) said in a press release that American planes had delivered over 38,000 meals during a combined effort on Saturday with Jordan. A second joint operation on Tuesday saw more than 36,800 meals dropped into the north of the strip.

Israel is currently waging a brutal war on Gaza, which has so far killed 30,800 people and caused widespread hunger, particularly in the territory's north. The US has provided Israel with arms and financial aid during the war, drawing accusations of complicity in Israel's brutal campaign.

Following the first airdrop, one TikTok user posted a video of three apparent US aid packages, each of which featured a different meal option – from chilli with beans, to chicken noodles and vegetables in sauce.

The man in the footage opened one package containing several items, including applesauce with raspberry puree, a small bottle of Tabasco sauce, and a packet of Skittles sweets.

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He said the aid was supposed to be free, but that he had purchased it to show viewers what was inside.

The packages are labelled "meal, ready-to-eat", a type of provision often used as military rations, and appear to bear the US DoD's seal.

"The humanitarian aid delivered to the people of Gaza consists of DoD Meals-Ready-to-Eat (MREs). All MREs produced in the US are calorie dense and follow the Military Recommended Dietary Allowance (MRDAs) under the US Surgeon General's guidance," a defence official said.

"While these calories are designed to sustain an individual engaged in heavy physical activity, these are not 'military rations' and are more than sufficient for the average [individual] as it exceeds the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) under the FDA," the official added, referring to the US's Food and Drug Administration.

The same TikTok user posted a different video showing the process of preparing a meal of spaghetti with beef and sauce apparently sent by the US.

@hazem.srour محتويات المساعدات الأمريكية ! #غزة #فلسطين #حرب #مساعدات #أمريكا #غزة_تحت_الحرب ♬ الصوت الأصلي - حازم سرور | Hazem Srour

The instructions visible in the footage appeared to be in English without an Arabic translation.

In a video posted by a different user showing apparent US food aid, a man in the background could be heard saying: "[It's] not halal."

The New Arab could not confirm whether the food was halal. It was also not clear whether the assistance in this footage was part of the first or second airdrop.

The Quran prohibits Muslims from consuming blood and certain kinds of meats, including that of swine.

"But whoever is compelled by extreme hunger – not intending to sin – then surely Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful," it adds.

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A different video posted to X, formerly Twitter, by media platform Noon Post showed a man throwing US food assistance into a rubbish bin.

"I… didn't accept the aid that came to us by air from Jordan," he said.

"Am I going to accept it from a state complicit in our starvation and complicit in this genocide?"

The US has been a staunch supporter of Israel during its war on Gaza. The International Court of Justice found in January that Israel was plausibly breaching the Genocide Convention in the enclave.

The New Arab was unable to independently verify the videos or the contents of the American food aid to Gaza.

According to a BBC report, the head of the Norwegian Refugee Council humanitarian group, Jan Egeland, has said: "Airdrops are expensive, haphazard, and usually lead to the wrong people getting the aid."

Other countries such as the UK and France, as well as Jordan, Egypt and other Arab states, have also taken part in the air drops.

France's President Emmanuel Macron posted a 13-second video of aid dropping from an aircraft on X on Tuesday. The last of the five pallets of the cargo had a French flag attached to it.

"Solidarity at work," Macron said, without specifying whether the footage was filmed in Gaza or elsewhere.

France's joint defence staff posted a 16-second version of the same video, saying six tonnes of aid were dropped "as close as possible to the needs of the civilian populations of #Gaza".

"Putting the French flag on aid drops is just disgusting," researcher Philip Proudfoot said in response to Macron's post.

"You want to do your nation proud? Sail the French navy directly into Gaza with medical facilities and vast quantities of aid, and dare the Israelis to return fire.

"Otherwise this is nothing but a spectacle."

Israel has fully or partially besieged Gaza since 7 October, with aid not reaching affected populations in sufficient numbers.

Cases of starvation have been reported in northern Gaza, including children, with aid agencies warning that a famine could soon devastate the enclave.

South Africa said this threat has now materialised with cases of starvation reported, and that the International Court of Justice needs to act to prevent the situation worsening.

Note: This article was updated at 22:19 GMT on 7 March 2024 to include remarks by a defence official.