Israelis, including the families of hostages being held in Gaza, and of soldiers fighting in the enclave, succeeded on Thursday in blocking all the trucks delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza at the Kerem Shalom crossing.
While the protests against the deliveries began right after Israel began allowing the trucks in, yesterday the protesters managed to block most of the trucks from getting in for the first time, and following that success more Israeli protesters joined the blockade today. Normally between 70 – 100 trucks cross over.
According to Kann reporter Amichai Stein, in response to the hostage families blocking the entry of the trucks, the Biden administration informed Israel that the Kerem Shalom crossing must remain open [for humanitarian aid] and operate as usual.
ביום רגיל עוברות בכרם שלום כ-70-100 משאיות. בעקבות ההפגנות נגד כניסת הסיוע ההומניטרי לעזה: היום עברו 0 משאיות.
בממשל האמריקני העבירו מסר לישראל: “המעבר צריך להישאר פתוח – ולפעול כרגיל”. כל הפרטים. https://t.co/XDVhGpONH9
— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) January 25, 2024
On Wednesday, the trucks were rerouted through Egypt and entered Gaza via the Rafah (Rafiach) crossing. Despite Egypt and Gaza sharing a border, Egypt has refused to allow Gazans to escape the battlefield and enter the Sinai, even if it is to leave to other countries afterwards.
The Israeli protesters are demanding that no aid trucks enter Gaza while Israelis are being held hostage by Hamas, a position most Israelis are in agreement with. Israel recently supplied Hamas with medications for the hostages, but there is no indication the Israeli captives ever received the medicines.
Hamas has been stealing the aid coming in to Gaza for their own terrorists and then selling the rest to the other Gazans. This allows Hamas to continuously resupply and continue fighting against Israel.
The protests at Kerem Shalom are expected to be even bigger next week.
Rabbi Dov Lior, a senior rabbi in Israel, in response to an inquiry, stated that the trucks should be blocked – even on Shabbat.
הגאון הרב דב ליאור שליט”א בפסק הלכה:
על אזרחים למנוע את כניסת משאיות החמאס גם בשבת כי ציוד ואספקה לאויב זו פעולה מלחמתית שמצד פיקוח נפש חובה לעצור. pic.twitter.com/xk13byPH2Z
— תורת לחימה (@Torat_IDF) January 25, 2024
Reacting to the report of the Biden administration’s angered response to their success, the Tzav-9 protest group that organized the protest-blockade released a statement [translated]:
“We’re very excited to hear about the involvement of the American government in their concern for aid and supplies to the murderous terrorist organization Hamas. We suggest that the administration and the President of the United States direct all their efforts and heartfelt concern for the immediate release of the one-year-old baby Kfir Bibas together with 135 abductees.
“We continue our activity with all our might and call on the entire public in the country, religious and secular from the right and the left, from the city, the village and the kibbutz to come with us and block the Kerem Shalom crossing. No aid goes through until the last of the abductees returns.”