Photo by Majdi Fathi/TPS on 14 May, 2023

Israel Reopens Kerem Shalom Crossing to Aid Deliveries

Public By Pesach Benson • 8 May, 2024

Jerusalem, 8 May, 2024 (TPS) -- Israel reopened the Kerem Shalom border crossing to humanitarian aid deliveries on Wednesday morning for the first time since a deadly rocket barrage on Sunday.

“Trucks from Egypt carrying humanitarian aid, including food, water, shelter equipment, medicine, and medical equipment donated by the international community are already arriving at the crossing,” said the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), a unit within the Defense Ministry responsible for overseeing humanitarian aid deliveries.

“After a thorough security inspection by the security personnel of the Ministry of Defense Crossing Authority, the equipment will be transferred to the Gazan side of the crossing,” the statement added.

Of all the Gaza border crossings, Kerem Shalom is equipped to handle the most humanitarian aid trucks daily.

The crossing was closed after four soldiers were killed in a Hamas rocket barrage.

Kerem Shalom’s reopening came one day after Israeli forces took control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, as well as a strip of land running the length of the 12 km border.

Some Palestinians in Rafah told The Press of Service of Israel on Tuesday that they believe the Israel Defense Forces will remain for a long time at the border crossing and along the border itself to thwart Hamas weapons smuggling through subterranean tunnels leading into the Sinai.

“In such a case, there is a serious fear that the aid will not arrive, but on the other hand, maybe now that the IDF controls the aid that comes from Rafah, Hamas will not be able to take over,” one Palestinian who found refuge in a hospital told TPS-IL.

The passage of aid deliveries is controversial in Israel.

When Hamas slashed food prices in April, Gaza residents told TPS-IL that the problem wasn’t a lack of food but a shortage of money for families to purchase it.

“Don’t feed Hamas” is a common chant at Israeli demonstrations against humanitarian aid deliveries, and the families of hostages have called on the government to leverage the aid for information, access, and freedom of their captive loved ones.

At least 1,200 people were killed and 240 Israelis and foreigners were taken hostage in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on October 7. Around 30 of the remaining 133 hostages are believed dead.