Activists block Gaza aid trucks at Ashdod Port after being barred from border by IDF

Continuing game of cat and mouse with security forces, protesters including far-right MK attempt to block trucks carrying humanitarian supplies for Palestinians in Strip

File - Protesters block the exit of Ashdod port to stop trucks they claim are carrying humanitarian aid destined for the Gaza Strip, in Ashdod, February 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
File - Protesters block the exit of Ashdod port to stop trucks they claim are carrying humanitarian aid destined for the Gaza Strip, in Ashdod, February 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Protesters blocked trucks carrying humanitarian supplies to Palestinians in Gaza on Thursday, demanding that no aid be allowed to enter the Strip via Israel while 132 hostages taken captive by terrorists on October 7 remain in captivity.

The protest came days after the IDF designated the areas of both the Kerem Shalom and the Nitzana border crossings as closed military zones to prevent disruptions. Large groups of activists, including some families of hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza, protested daily at the crossing last week.

Photos and videos circulating on social media on Thursday morning showed protesters arguing with truck drivers and attempting to check their loads to see which were headed for Gaza.

Likud activist Orly Lev posted a photo from the protest on X, formerly Twitter, with the caption, “Now at the Ashdod Port, blocking aid to Nazis.”

Ultranationalist MK and radical settlement activist Tzvi Succot also attended the protest, according to Channel 12 news.

In one video widely circulated on social media, a teen activist was seen telling a truck driver, apparently Arab, “I’m the master here, you’re a slave here!”

Some 3,000 Hamas-led terrorists burst across the border into Israel from Gaza by land, air and sea on October 7, killing some 1,200 people and seizing 253 hostages, mostly civilians, many amid horrific acts of brutality.

In response, Israel launched an extensive military campaign against the terrorist group, and the government initially said no aid would be allowed into Gaza.

By the end of October, however, Israel was allowing humanitarian aid to enter the Strip through the Rafah crossing on the Gaza border with Egypt. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has since said multiple times that without minimal aid being given to Gaza, the IDF would be unable to complete its objectives in the war due to risks such as diseases.

As part of a temporary truce deal in November, 105 hostages were released, and Israel promised to up the number of trucks carrying aid to 200 a day, but could not keep up with the demand with only one crossing open. As a result, Netanyahu announced in mid-December that Israel would reopen Kerem Shalom to allow more aid into the Strip.

Over the past week, however, protesters have demanded that humanitarian aid for Gaza be withheld until the remainder of the hostages are released, and have rallied at the Kerem Shalom crossing daily to attempt to block the trucks.

Activists for hostages block aid trucks from leaving the Ashdod Port during a protest against aid reaching the Gaza Strip, in Ashdod, February 1, 2024. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Officials in US President Joe Biden’s administration, who have pushed Israel to allow aid for Gaza throughout the war, urged Israel to ensure that the crossing remained open and aid continued to make it through despite the civil disturbances.

Netanyahu repeated during a press conference on Saturday night that the aid was essential to success in the war, and added that officials were instructed to take care of the issue.

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