Photo Credit: Ariel Hermoni, IMoD
US Secy of State Antony Blinken and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant tour crossings to Gaza. May 1, 2024

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant hosted US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in southern Israel on Wednesday, leading him on a tour of Kibbutz Nir Oz, where thousands of Hamas-led terrorists tortured and slaughtered a large percentage of the residents and abducted others on October 7, 2023.

The minister and secretary also visited Kerem Shalom, one of the key land crossings used to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to the civilian population in Gaza.


Blinken arrived in Israel from Jordan late Tuesday night for his final stop on his visit to the region, with a White House laundry list of orders and “must do’s” for the Jewish State, including ensuring that Israel is doing “more” for Gazans.

Blinken, Gallant and their respective delegations received a professional briefing by senior security officials, focused on the efforts made to provide humanitarian aid, as well as the measures taken by the IDF’s Southern Command to streamline coordination and deconfliction with international partners and organizations.

“We decided to open today the Erez Crossing on the northern side of Gaza, and to allow ships to offload humanitarian supplies in Ashdod and to be able to move directly to the northern side of Gaza, in order to bring water, humanitarian supplies, medicine and food. We are taking significant measures in order to increase the volume of humanitarian aid into Gaza. This is essential,” Gallant said.

“We are fighting Hamas, a brutal terrorist organization. We are not fighting the civilians in Gaza, and we will facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid.

“At the same time, as I said and mentioned to the Secretary of State, I would like to emphasize – this war was started by Hamas, a brutal terrorist organization that is located [mere] meters from the border of Israel, as a proxy of Iran. They attacked us on October 7th, killed more than a thousand innocent people, including kids, women, and men. [They] kidnapped more than 250; 133 are still in Gaza. We are determined to destroy the Hamas organization and to bring the hostages back to their families,” he added.

Later in the day, the two men toured the various stations of the crossing and overlooked the security and inspection process for incoming goods.

Blinken and Gallant held a private discussion, joined by senior officials including the IDF Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, Director General of the Israel Ministry of Defense Maj. Gen. (Res.) Eyal Zamir, and Director of the Policy Bureau Dror Shalom, to review efforts to return the hostages held in Gaza and the importance of continuing military operations in order to dismantle the Hamas terrorist organization.

The IDF opened the Erez Crossing for the first time since Oct. 7th in accordance with a government directive and as part of the effort to increase the quantity and routes for humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip via the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).

Thirty trucks of aid, including food and medical supplies for northern Gaza arrived from Jordan and entered the enclave after Israeli inspection as part of the effort.

It’s important to note that the entry of humanitarian aid through the Erez Crossing was made possible only after engineering work was carried out in the area by the Engineering Units and additional IDF forces.

The forces constructed inspection and protection infrastructure in the area and paved roads in both Israeli and Gazan territory, enabling the entry of substantial amounts of aid to the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

The crossing, previously used solely for human traffic, was completely destroyed by Hamas-led terrorists during their invasion of Israel and massacre of more than a thousand people on October 7th.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.