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War on Gaza: Israeli protesters block emergency aid from reaching Gaza for days

Families of the captives taken to Gaza are among some of the protesters who have been blocking aid at the Kerem Shalom border for over three days
Families of the captives held in Gaza and protesters block aid at the Kerem Shalom crossing on 25 January 2024 (Reuters)

Israeli protesters, including relatives of those taken captive to Gaza on 7 October, have been blocking emergency aid from reaching the enclave through the Kerem Shalom border crossing.

According to Israeli media, the protesters have been picketing the humanitarian trucks going into Gaza, and demanding that the aid be cut off until the remaining captives are released. 

The group of protesters made their way through a roadblock, walking several kilometres toward the crossing.

A relative of one of the captives, sister-in-law of captive Elyakim Libman, said it was a “moral failure” that aid was being given to Gaza while some captives still remain in the enclave.

The protesters have been urging the government to prohibit any humanitarian aid from reaching Gaza.

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On Wednesday, the protesters held up over 100 trucks, some of which were eventually diverted and forced to find an alternative entry point in Egypt, delaying the aid further and forcing it to go through further checks. 

Haaretz reported on Wednesday that the organisation ‘Mothers of Combat Soldiers’ were also involved in the blocking of the crossing, demanding that any aid that enters Gaza is on the condition that captives are returned along with the “disarmament of Hamas".

On 24 January, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi accused Israel of holding up aid deliveries for Gaza.

"This is a form of pressure on the Gaza Strip and its people over the conflict and the release of hostages. They are using this as a pressure tool on the people of the Strip," Sisi said in comments to mark Egypt's national police day.

Palestinians getting aid attacked

The protests to block aid come as, over the last week Israeli forces have also been attacking Palestinians in Gaza queuing up to get aid. 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken renewed calls on Thursday for Israel to protect civilians, after a deadly Israeli strike on a UN facility on Wednesday killed at least 12 Palestinians and wounded dozens of others.

The US condemned the strike but avoided assigning blame, while Israel said it was probing the matter, according to Israeli media.

Two tank shells struck the UN shelter leaving widespread devastation. 

During a visit to Angola, Blinken told reporters that the UN shelter “is essential and it has to be protected".

“We have reaffirmed this with the government of Israel, and it is my understanding that they are, as is necessary and appropriate, looking into this incident,” Blinken said, without saying at what level discussions took place.

At least 26,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since the start of the war on 7 October, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said on Friday. Israel launched its war on Gaza in October, following a Hamas attack that left 1,200 people dead. 

Since then, Gaza has been plunged into a deep humanitarian crisis, after Israel cut off all fuel, water, electricity, and aid for the enclave. 

Since November 2023, humanitarian agencies have said that Gaza faces the threat of starvation and disease after aid deliveries were halted by a lack of fuel and a communications blackout. 

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