Israel says Gaza has received almost 14,000 trucks of aid since start of war

Large shipment of flour set to enter Strip after Jerusalem agrees to plan for World Food Program to be responsible for distribution instead of UNRWA

Vehicles transporting humanitarian aid drive along the Salaheddin road in the Zeitoun district on the southern outskirts of Gaza City on November 26, 2023. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)
Vehicles transporting humanitarian aid drive along the Salaheddin road in the Zeitoun district on the southern outskirts of Gaza City on November 26, 2023. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

Gaza has received 13,834 trucks of humanitarian aid since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war, according to a Friday update by Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.

According to COGAT, 254,210 tons of supplies have been transferred to the Gaza Strip, including 167,080 tons of food.

United Nations agencies and aid groups have said the ongoing war has made it increasingly difficult to bring vital aid to much of the coastal enclave.

In a report on Thursday, the UN said that the average daily number of trucks carrying humanitarian aid into Gaza had dropped from 200 in January to 57 in the last two weeks, with only 20 trucks making it through some days.

Israel has denied fault for the low numbers and blamed humanitarian organizations operating inside Gaza, saying hundreds of trucks filled with aid sit idle on the Palestinian side of the Kerem Shalom Crossing. The UN, in turn, said it can’t always reach the trucks at the crossing because it is at times too dangerous.

The issue of humanitarian aid for Gaza has been a source of contention between Israel and other countries since the war began on October 7, with Hamas’s unprecedented attack on Israel in which terrorists murdered some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapped 253.

Palestinians loot a humanitarian aid truck as it crosses into the Gaza Strip in Rafah, December 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair, File)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with the support of his right-wing coalition, initially announced that Israel would not allow any aid into Gaza, but quickly reversed course amid pressure from the US. He has since said that providing minimal humanitarian aid makes it easier for the IDF to fulfill the war’s objectives of dismantling Hamas and bringing the hostages home.

Since the beginning of the war, aid has passed into Gaza through the Rafah crossing on the Egyptian border after being examined by Israeli forces, but after it became clear that the checkpoint could not keep up with the need, Israel opened its Kerem Shalom Crossing as well.

Trucks carrying aid into Gaza have intermittently been held up at Kerem Shalom by Israeli protesters demonstrating against sending humanitarian aid to the Strip while hostages remained in Hamas captivity.

An essential shipment of flour that could feed 1.5 million Gazans for five months has also been held up in Israel for a month by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who refused to let it into Gaza if UNRWA would be responsible for its distribution.

This comes after Israeli allegations that members of the Palestinian aid organization took part in the October 7 attacks, and that many more have ties to terror groups. UNRWA has said it fired several members who may have been involved in Hamas’s attack.

Multiple countries have frozen funding to UNRWA as the UN investigates the claims against the group.

A worker carries bags of humanitarian aid that entered Gaza by truck through the Kerem Shalom border crossing on February 17, 2024. (Said Khatib/AFP)

The freeze on the flour shipment was seemingly resolved on Thursday after Israel agreed to a plan that would see the flour distributed by the World Food Program instead of UNRWA.

Israel also said on Thursday that it was looking for non-Hamas affiliated Palestinians in Gaza to take responsibility for aid distribution as a test run for a possible plan to have civilians administrate Gaza after the war ends. The individuals who volunteer will work out of “humanitarian pockets” in areas of the Strip where Hamas has already been expelled.

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