update deskIsrael at War

Hundreds of anti-Gaza aid activists block trucks at Ashdod Port

The Tzav 9 movement is determined to protest until every hostage is free.

People block the entrance to Ashdod Port during a protest against aid entering the Gaza Strip, Feb. 1, 2024. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.
People block the entrance to Ashdod Port during a protest against aid entering the Gaza Strip, Feb. 1, 2024. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.

After the Israeli army, in response to protests, declared the areas surrounding two border crossings where aid for Gaza is inspected closed military zones, hundreds of activists on Thursday moved their operations to Ashdod Port, where they halted the departure of trucks destined for the Strip.

Among the demonstrators was Religious Zionism Party lawmaker Tzvi Sukkot as well as families of some of the 136 hostages still being held by Hamas, relatives of soldiers killed in action, reservists rotated out of combat and civilians evacuated from the Gaza and Lebanon frontiers.

“I came to support and strengthen the hostages’ families and mothers of soldiers at their just protest against letting in the aid trucks that will reach Hamas,” tweeted Sukkot, charging that “assisting the enemy during wartime is a moral and ethical stain.”

Protest groups started to gather at the Kerem Shalom border crossing with Gaza late last week, prompting the Israel Defense Forces to declare the area a closed zone on Sunday. Three days later, the IDF did the same for the Nitzana border crossing with Egypt.

The ongoing protests have also led to several arrests, including that of Yehuda Dee at Kerem Shalom on Wednesday. Yehuda Dee is the son of Lucy Dee, whom a Hamas terrorist murdered in the Jordan Valley on April 7, 2023, along with her daughters Maia and Rina.

As the protests continued to gain steam over the weekend, Israel’s Kan News public broadcaster reported that Biden administration officials demanded Israel ensure that aid continues to flow into Gaza.

The effort to block aid into Gaza, including food and fuel, is being led by the Tzav 9 (“Order 9”) movement, which is determined to protest until the last Israeli hostage is freed. Tzav 9 is a reference to the Tzav 8 emergency mobilization notices IDF reservists received on Oct. 7.

“There is no logic in bringing the trucks directly to the hands of Hamas terrorists,” the organization said, vowing to mobilize “thousands of supporters who demand that the supplies to Hamas be stopped.

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

Some 136 hostages remain in the Strip, although dozens are believed to be dead. The terrorist group abducted more than 240 people during its Oct. 7 rampage across the northwestern Negev in which it murdered some 1,200 people and wounded thousands of others.

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