Right-wing activists vandalize aid shipment headed to Gaza, set 2 trucks alight

Four said arrested after assaulting convoy on supply route from Jordan through West Bank; protesters dump goods on road; Tzav 9 group vows more disruptions till hostages freed

An aid convoy heading to the Gaza Strip that was attacked by protesters in the Hebron Hills region, May 13, 2023. (Video screenshot; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
An aid convoy heading to the Gaza Strip that was attacked by protesters in the Hebron Hills region, May 13, 2023. (Video screenshot; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Right-wing protesters blocked an aid convoy heading to the Gaza Strip on Monday, spilling some of the contents from the trucks onto the road as they sought to prevent the goods from reaching their destination.

Four people were arrested during the fracas.

Two trucks from the convoy were later set on fire, according to multiple media reports.

Haaretz said police’s departure after making arrests had apparently enabled far-right activists to return and torch the trucks later in the evening.

The Tzav 9 activist group, which seeks to halt transfers of humanitarian supplies into Gaza as long as Israelis are held hostage there, claimed credit earlier in the day for blocking the shipment as it passed through the Tarqumiyah checkpoint, in the Hebron Hills region between the southern West Bank and Israel.

Trucks have been transferring aid originating in Jordan through the West Bank en route to Gaza, where Israel is warring against the Palestinian terror group Hamas. The fighting has led to a humanitarian crisis in the enclave.

Footage from the scene showed over a dozen activists standing in the road as a truck idled in the background. A picture showed protesters throwing dozens of sacks of sugar out of a truck, with sugar spilling out of some. Video showed that several trucks in the convoy had been vandalized in this way.

Demonstrators oppose the delivery of aid into Gaza as long as 132 people are still being held hostage by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza, all but four of them seized during the devastating October 7 attack on Israel led by Hamas that killed some 1,200 people and opened the war.

Tzav 9 threatened in a statement that activists would remain as long as necessary to keep the trucks from entering Gaza. It said 80 trucks were scheduled to make the journey throughout the day.

“It’s absurd insanity that on a day when we remember our fallen, killed by the [Hamas] terrorists, the State of Israel continues in whatever way it can to transfer aid to those same terrorists,” the statement read, referring to Memorial Day, during which Israelis remember those killed in wars and by terrorism.

“We cannot allow the fallen to be the silver platter for the terrorists,” Tzav 9 said. “No aid goes through until the last of the hostages returns.”

Roi Baruch, whose brother Uriel Baruch was killed by Hamas with his remains held in Gaza, welcomed the action.

“You must not allow aid to the enemy to pass through and reach the hands of Hamas,” he said in remarks included in the Tzav 9 statement. “Blocking the trucks is a noble and understandable act for anyone with a sound mind.”

Regavim, a right-wing movement active in the West Bank, gave its support for the protesters, saying in a statement: “It is inconceivable to the heart and mind that on the day of remembrance for the fallen of Israel’s campaigns and victims of terror, the Israeli government opens a supply route… to the Hamas terrorists in Gaza.”

The right-wing Honenu legal aid organization said four activists, including at least one minor, were arrested.

Activists from Tzav 9 have similarly blocked other convoys several times in the past, including last week when six protesters were arrested after a convoy was halted and some cargo damaged.

The activists have not affected aid deliveries in a significant way.

On Sunday the Israel Defense Forces said it had opened a new crossing with the northern Gaza Strip for humanitarian aid deliveries. The so-called Western Erez Crossing is located in the Zikim area, on the coast.

The crossing was built by the Defense Ministry’s engineering department, the ministry’s crossings authority, and IDF engineering units.

The IDF said the crossing was opened “as part of the effort to increase aid routes to the Gaza Strip, and to the northern Gaza Strip in particular.”

It says that dozens of trucks ferrying flour from the World Food Program were delivered from Ashdod Port to the Gaza Strip via the new crossing, after “undergoing security checks.”

Tzav 9 lamented the development at the time, saying it was a “shameful spectacle.”

An aerial view of the new crossing with the northern Gaza Strip, near Kibbutz Zikim, May 12, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

Israel has been working to increase humanitarian aid deliveries to Gaza amid pressure from the international community, including the US.

In response to the Hamas attack, Israel launched a military campaign to topple the Hamas regime in Gaza, destroy the terror group, and free the hostages.

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