Police detained several dozen Israelis at the Kerem Shalom border crossing to Gaza on Wednesday as they blocked aid trucks from transiting there on their way to the Hamas-controlled Strip.
Protest groups have gathered at Kerem Shalom for six consecutive days, prompting the Israel Defense Forces on Sunday to declare that area a closed military zone.
Before the order, the protesters had successfully blocked the aid trucks from entering Gaza.
Earlier on Wednesday, the IDF declared the Nitzana border crossing with Egypt a closed military zone. Additionally, the order includes Route 211 connecting Nitzana with the rest of Israel.
Maj. Gen. Yaron Finkelman, head of the IDF Southern Command, signed the directive on Tuesday night after earlier in the day, activists, including relatives of hostages held by Hamas terrorists, prevented trucks from reaching the crossing.
Nitzana is the smaller of the two crossings, where the trucks are checked for contraband before entering Sinai and then proceeding to Gaza via the Rafah crossing.
Despite the disturbances, 120 aid trucks entered southern Gaza via Kerem Shalom on Wednesday morning. An additional 52 trucks were inspected at Nitzana and will enter the Strip via Egypt.
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 returned home. 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. “We are ready to be tested in real-time, together with thousands of supporters who demand that the supplies to Hamas be stopped. No aid should pass until the last of the hostages returns.”
The protests have led to several arrests, including that of Yehuda Dee at the Kerem Shalom crossing on Wednesday when he tried to block supply and aid trucks from getting to Hamas. Yehuda Dee is the son of Lucy Dee, whom a Palestinian terrorist murdered in the Jordan Valley on April 7, 2023, along with her daughters Maia and Rina. The family is also survived by Rabbi Leo Dee, Yehuda’s father, and sisters Keren and Tali.
On Dec. 15, Israel’s Security Cabinet approved the opening of the Kerem Shalom crossing for the transfer of aid to 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.
Israeli grassroots movement Mothers of IDF Soldiers, together with the IDF Reservists movement, gathered outside the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem on Wednesday to demand an end to aid to Gaza.
“We support the Israeli government’s decision to wage war and eradicate Hamas and we are grateful and appreciative of the sacrifices our soldiers make on a daily basis to protect the State of Israel,” Mirit Hoffman, an English-language spokeswoman for Mothers of IDF Soldiers, told JNS.
“We do not support sending humanitarian aid, otherwise known as Hamas aid, to Gaza,” she added. “Since the Biden administration has been putting pressure on the Israeli government to do so, we are going to the source.”