Record Number of Aid Trucks Reach Besieged Palestinians

4 mins

Israel is under increasing international scrutiny to allow more aid into Gaza, where the humanitarian crisis has escalated six months into the conflict

Israel says aid is now moving quickly into Gaza after global pressure to increase access, but the United Nations says it is still far below the amount required to meet humanitarian needs.

Israel said 468 aid trucks moved into Gaza on Tuesday, the highest since the conflict began. That followed 419 on Monday, though the Red Crescent and United Nations gave much lower figures, with the U.N. saying many trucks were half empty due to stringent Israeli inspection rules.

On Sunday 322 trucks carrying humanitarian aid entered Gaza bringing supplies to beleaguered Palestinians. A total of 228 of the vehicles were carrying food, the rest medical equipment and necessities such as blankets.

Israel has now reopened the Erez Crossing, the large border entry between northern Gaza and Israel, and announced it would allow aid shipments to flow through the port of Ashdod.

Shipping containers being unloaded at port facilities in Ashdod, Israel
Israel has announced it will allow aid shipments to flow through the port of Ashdod

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, nine countries collaborated on a significant aid drop into Gaza, coinciding with Eid Al Fitr and the culmination of Ramadan.

The Jordanian Armed Forces spearheaded the mission, delivering hundreds of tonnes of essential resources to the war-torn enclave. The British Ministry of Defence hailed it as the largest international aid drop on a single day since the conflict erupted last October.

Joining forces with Jordan were the UAE, UK, US, Germany, France, Indonesia, the Netherlands, and Egypt, according to the ministry’s statement.

The operation saw an RAF A400M aircraft departing from Amman to distribute over 10 tonnes of aid, comprising ready-to-eat meals, water, and rice, along Gaza’s northern coastline. The flight spanned approximately an hour, with other participating nations conducting aid drops throughout the day.

World Central Kitchen

The rapid increase in aid deliveries follows increased scrutiny on the process, especially from Europe and the US after seven aid workers with World Central Kitchen were killed in a drone air strike.

The Israeli military called the attack a ‘grave mistake stemming from a serious failure due to a mistaken identification,’  and dismissed two senior officers.

José Andrés, the celebrity chef and founder of World Conflict Kitchen, told ABC News’s Martha Raddatz the attack was ‘unforgivable’ and called for Israel to face ‘a real reckoning on how they conduct war’.

People stand near a destroyed car of the aid organisation World Central Kitchen in the southern Gaza Strip
People stand near a destroyed car of the NGO World Central Kitchen (WCK) in the southern Gaza Strip, 02 April 2024. EPA-EFE/MOHAMMED SABER

Andres also called for an independent investigation into the attack. ‘The perpetrator cannot be investigating himself,’ he said.

So far more than 220 international aid workers have been killed in Gaza, according to the most recent United Nations estimates.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an independent investigation into the other deaths.

‘We want to know why each one of them was killed,’ he said after a meeting of the Security Council.

Aid Issues

Before the current conflict, around 500 trucks a day entered Gaza to supply the population of more than 2 million people.

Aid groups and U.N. experts have warned that people are beginning to starve after six months of war and blockade. According to a United Nations humanitarian affairs report, 28 children have already died of malnutrition and dehydration.

Most aid groups estimate that there are between 3,000 to 7,000 trucks currently waiting to be allowed into the Gaza Strip.

Trucks loaded with international aid enter Gaza through Kerem Shalom crossing.

Aid shipments have faced other issues making it into the besieged territory during the war.

In February, a group of far-right Israeli activists camped out in front of aid convoys attempting to enter Gaza through the Kerem Shalom Crossing.

Supplies have also been threatened by members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, a far-right member  of the ruling coalition, intervened to block a shipment of flour bound for Gaza from the US.

At least 33,137 residents of Gaza have been killed since the conflict began, say the territory’s health ministry, with the majority women and children.

However thousands more are missing under the rubbles of collapsed buildings and are believed to be dead.

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