Israel begins construction of new Gaza border crossing, accuses UN of undercounting aid deliveries

April 12, 2024 by Pesach Benson
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Israeli authorities approved on Wednesday night several measures to streamline humanitarian aid deliveries to Gaza, including the construction of a new border crossing. Israeli officials also accused the UN of undercounting the number of trucks entering the Strip.

Boxes of humanitarian aid are distributed to residents of Deir al-Balah on April 8, 2024 ahead of the Eid al-Fitr holiday.                                  Photo by Majdi Fathi/TPS

“We are constructing the Northern Crossing, a new land crossing from Israel into northern Gaza, to enable more aid to flow directly to civilians in the areas that have been challenging for trucks to access,” the Israel Defence Forces said in a statement.

The new crossing is intended to relieve pressure on the Kerem Shalom and Nitzana border crossings, where trucks undergo security checks before entering the Strip.

Other measures approved by the government included an initiative to streamline security checks for aid arriving through the Ashdod Port, collaboration with the Jordanian Armed Forces to facilitate additional trucks, and plans to collaborate with the United States on infrastructure projects such as a water pipe.

Since the beginning of the war, over 22,000 trucks containing over 400,000 tons of humanitarian aid have passed through those two crossings, according to figures released by The Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).

COGAT added that approximately 3,961 food packages have been airdropped in 64 airdrops to distribution points across the Gaza Strip.

On Wednesday, alone, 298 humanitarian aid trucks entered through the crossings and 353 food packages were airdropped.

COGAT is a unit within the Israeli Defense Ministry that coordinates civilian issues in Judea, Samaria and Gaza between the government, military, international organizations and the Palestinian Authority.

Undercounted Trucks

Meanwhile, COGAT accused the United Nations of undercounting the number of trucks entering Gaza.

“The UN’s incorrect numbers are a result of their flawed counting method. Rather than counting the actual number of trucks that enter the Gaza Strip, in an attempt to conceal their logistical distribution difficulties, they only count the trucks that they have picked up from the Gazan side of the border,” a COGAT statement said.

The dispute surfaced on Monday when COGAT reported the entry of 419 trucks that day. The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) claimed that only 223 trucks crossed into Gaza on Monday.

Hamas recently slashed food prices. Gaza residents told The Press Service of Israel that the problem isn’t a lack of food but a shortage of money for families to purchase it.

The passage of aid deliveries is controversial in Israel. Food, water and fuel deliveries are frequently stolen by Hamas once they arrive inside the Strip. Israeli authorities have sidelined the embattled UNRWA, for distributing food, water, medicine and other supplies. The agency has been under fire amid revelations that many of its staff are members of Hamas, including several who participated in the October 7 attacks.

“Don’t feed Hamas” is a common chant at Israeli demonstrations against humanitarian aid deliveries, and the families of hostages have called on the government to leverage the aid for information, access and freedom of their captive loved ones.

At least 1,200 people were killed and 240 Israelis and foreigners were taken hostage in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on October 7. Of the remaining 134 hostages, Israel recently declared 31 of them dead.

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