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Israel to reopen Gaza border crossing for aid

The government will allow the deliveries through the Erez checkpoint after months of closure

Israel has agreed to allow humanitarian aid deliveries into northern Gaza through the Erez crossing, which was shut down following the October 7 Hamas attack. The decision came after international outrage over the killing of aid workers by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

“Israel will allow the temporary delivery of humanitarian aid through [the port of] Ashdod and the Erez checkpoint,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in the early hours of Friday. 

“This increased aid will prevent a humanitarian crisis and is necessary to ensure the continuation of the fighting and to achieve the goals of the war,” Netanyahu’s office said.

The Erez crossing was closed nearly six months ago when Israel declared a near-total blockade of the Palestinian enclave.

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The aid has since been either delivered through the crowded Rafah checkpoint in southern Gaza, near the border with Egypt, or airdropped. Relief groups are saying that the current flow is only a fraction of what is needed, with the UN warning last month that as many as 1.1 million people – half of Gaza’s population – are experiencing food insecurity.

International pressure on Israel increased after the IDF bombed an aid convoy on Monday, killing seven foreign volunteers for the relief group World Central Kitchen. The Israeli military said the airstrikes were a result of “misidentification,” and promised to investigate the incident.

US President Joe Biden spoke to Netanyahu over the phone on Thursday, demanding that Israel “implement a series of specific, concrete, and measurable steps to address civilian harm, humanitarian suffering, and the safety of aid workers,” according to the White House.

Netanyahu has rejected the mounting calls to halt the advance on the city of Rafah, insisting that Israel needs to eliminate Hamas fighters in the area. Speaking at an event in Jerusalem last week, he said that the IFG “had no choice” but to move into Rafah because the country’s “very existence is on the line,” as quoted by CNN.

Israel declared war on Hamas after Palestinians militants carried out a surprise attack on Israeli cities on October 7, killing some 1,100 people and taking more than 200 hostages. More than 30,000 Palestinians have since been killed during Israel’s operations in Gaza, according to local authorities.

April 05, 2024 at 08:47AM
RT

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