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update deskIsrael at War

For third straight day, protesters block aid from entering Gaza

The protesters, including some families of hostages still being held by Hamas, converged on the Kerem Shalom border crossing.

Hundreds of Israelis block trucks carrying humanitarian supplies towards the Gaza Strip at the Kerem Shalom border crossing, Jan. 24, 2024. Photo by Bashi Darshan/TPS.
Hundreds of Israelis block trucks carrying humanitarian supplies towards the Gaza Strip at the Kerem Shalom border crossing, Jan. 24, 2024. Photo by Bashi Darshan/TPS.

Hundreds of protesters were set on Friday to descend on the Kerem Shalom border crossing to block humanitarian aid from entering the Gaza Strip for the third day in a row.

The protesters, including some families of hostages still being held by Hamas in Gaza, are demanding that all aid be cut off until some 136 remaining captives are freed.

In a statement, the protesters said they had bypassed police checkpoints set up to prevent their arrival.

On Wednesday, the protesters from the “Order 9” movement demanded that “no aid goes through until the last of the abductees returns, no equipment be transferred to the enemy.”

(An Order 8 call-up notice is an order for the emergency mobilization of an IDF reserve soldier outside the framework of regular reserve duty. Many were issued after Hamas’s Oct. 7 invasion of the northwestern Negev with the mobilization of some 360,000 reserve soldiers).

The demonstrators also include relatives of soldiers killed in action in the Gaza Strip, reservists released from combat and civilians evacuated from the northern and southern frontiers.

Traffic officials said that dozens of trucks turned around and drove away from Kerem Shalom due to Wednesday’s protest.

Hundreds block trucks carrying humanitarian equipment into Gaza at the Kerem Shalom crossing, Jan. 24, 2024. Photo by Bashi Darshan/TPS.

On Dec. 15, Israel’s Security Cabinet approved the opening of the Kerem Shalom crossing for the transfer of aid into the Strip after intense U.S. and international pressure. All the Israeli crossings to Gaza had been shuttered after the Oct. 7 massacre, with only Egypt’s Rafah crossing from Sinai remaining open.

The latest protests followed previous attempts to block the passage of aid to Gaza from Israel, including on Jan. 9 and Dec. 21. Organizers of the Dec. 21 effort said was mounted to stop “Hamas trucks” and “Nazi trucks” from entering the coastal enclave.

Hamas is stealing much of the aid intended for Gazan civilians and redirecting it to terrorists hiding in tunnels.

The Israeli Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) unit said that Sunday saw 260 aid trucks enter Gaza, including 139 passing through Kerem Shalom, the most on any single day since the war began on Oct. 7.

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