Amid mounting protests in Israel against the supply of humanitarian aid to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Sunday marked the busiest day for the aid transfers since the start of the war on Oct. 7.
According to Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), 271 aid trucks were inspected before entering the coastal enclave on Sunday, amounting to 4,320 tons.
“This marks the highest number of humanitarian aid trucks inspected and transferred in one day since the start of the war,” COGAT stated. The agency is a unit within the Israeli Defense Ministry that coordinates civilian issues between the Israeli government, military, international organizations and the Palestinian Authority.
Of the 271 trucks, 112 were inspected at Israel’s Nitzana crossing and entered Gaza via Egypt’s Rafah crossing. The other 159 trucks were inspected and transferred at Israel’s Kerem Shalom crossing. There were 180 trucks carrying food.
In December, Israel’s Security Cabinet approved the reopening of Kerem Shalom for the transfer of aid following intense U.S. and international pressure. All Israeli crossings to Gaza were closed after Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre, with only Egypt’s Rafah crossing from Sinai remaining open.
Protests at the Kerem Shalom crossing started on Jan. 24. The demonstrators, including relatives of those murdered and kidnapped by Hamas on Oct. 7 and of IDF soldiers slain in Gaza, successfully blocked trucks at the crossing, leading to an expanded military closure there. The demonstrators then headed to Nitzana crossing, where another military closure was announced. Last Thursday, hundreds of activists moved their operations to Ashdod Port, where they halted the departure of trucks destined for the Gaza Strip.
According to Israel Security Agency chief Ronen Bar, Hamas is hijacking up to 60% of the humanitarian aid entering the Gaza Strip.
The demonstrators are demanding a stop to the aid shipments until all 136 of the remaining hostages being held by Hamas are released.
Since the start of the war, a total of 220,250 tons of aid has entered the Strip, carried by 11,943 trucks, according to COGAT data, including food, water, shelter equipment, medical supplies, fuel and cooking gas.
The United Arab Emirates (23%) and Saudi Arabia (22%) are the top two donor countries. The World Food Program is the top United Nations donor, delivering just over half the U.N. aid. The World Central Kitchen is the leading NGO delivering aid at 61%.
According to the COGAT update, on Sunday Jordan and the Netherlands airdropped seven packages of medical supplies into Gaza, and four tankers of cooking gas entered the Strip.
Additionally, a second water line from the Egyptian to the Gaza side of Rafah was connected. The UAE project is expected to supply water for the residents of southern Gaza.
While the United Nations facilitates the distribution of humanitarian aid not stolen by Hamas to the residents of Gaza, there is no such mechanism for the 136 Israelis still being held by the terrorist group in Gaza. A French-Qatari initiative to deliver badly needed medicines to the hostages took place last month, but it is unclear whether the captives received the shipments.