Six Israelis arrested for attacking, damaging aid convoy heading to Gaza

Protesters intercept trucks from Jordan, spilling goods onto road and slashing tires; activists say they will keep blocking the trucks until the hostages are released from Gaza

Israeli security forces guard aid trucks making their way to the Gaza Strip while people protest them, on Route 1 between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, May 6, 2024. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
Israeli security forces guard aid trucks making their way to the Gaza Strip while people protest them, on Route 1 between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, May 6, 2024. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Israel Police said Tuesday that six people were arrested overnight as dozens of protesters blocked an aid convoy heading to the Gaza Strip and damaged some of the goods it was carrying.

Activists from Tzav 9, a right-wing organization that opposes aid being sent to Gaza while hostages are still held there, blocked roads at various points along the trucks’ route as they made their way from Jordan to Gaza, damaging some and spilling goods onto the road.

It marked the second time in less than a week that protesters have attacked an aid convoy traversing Israel to Gaza. Demonstrators oppose the delivery of aid into Gaza through Israel while 128 people are still being held hostage in the coastal enclave by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza, who seized the captives during the devastating October 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

At the key Latrun Junction close to Jerusalem, protesters blocked the road for some four hours, attacking the trucks while police moved in to disperse the demonstrators, the Kan public broadcaster reported.

Police said several trucks and their contents were damaged.

Footage shared by Kan showed about a dozen activists from Tzav 9 being removed from the road by police, with some others apparently moving away voluntarily.

A convoy of over a dozen trucks was seen stuck on the road.

Kan reported that the protesters punctured tires on at least one truck and damaged goods on another, throwing its cargo, including food, into the road.

Tsav 9 told Kan in a statement that “officers are using serious violence to clear activists” and claimed that one protester was knocked unconscious, requiring medical care.

“It is lamentable that Israel Police is doing everything in order to transfer aid to the Hamas terrorists,” the group said and vowed to continue its actions against the “terror trucks until the last of the hostages comes back.”

The broadcaster said protesters had initially blocked the convoy in the French Hill area of Jerusalem. The trucks then split up but were again delayed near Mevaseret Zion outside Jerusalem, and the Mitzpe Yeriho Junction in the West Bank.

Israel Police said in a statement that “dozens of protesters began to disturb the peace when they blocked humanitarian aid trucks traveling towards the Gaza Strip in accordance with the decision of the Israeli government.”

“Some of them caused damage to the trucks traveling on these roads and their contents,” the statement continued.  “As a result, police and security forces operated on these roads to remove the blockades and open the roads.”

Last week Tzav 9 organized a demonstration at the Allenby Crossing between Israel and Jordan to block a convoy. Images on social media showed young women sitting on the road in front of a truck, while other demonstrators held Israeli flags and pictures of the hostages.

Videos showed the activists dumping bags of flour onto the road.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was visiting the region at the time, condemned the disruption to the convoy as “unacceptable.”

Israel last week reopened Erez, the crossing on the northern edge of the Gaza Strip, for the first time since it was attacked by Hamas on October 7, allowing aid trucks to pass through the checkpoint following US demands to do more to get aid into the Strip.

But it closed the southern Kerem Shalom crossing on Sunday following a Hamas rocket attack that killed four soldiers and injured 10 others near the area.

The reopening of Erez had been a central plea of international aid agencies for months to alleviate the humanitarian situation which is believed to be most severe among the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the north of the enclave.

Last week, the chief of the United Nations’ food program warned of a “full-blown famine” in northern Gaza, an assertion sharply rebuffed by Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.

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