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CBN News Visits Gaza Crossing: Aid Trucks Flooding in but Then Get Stuck in UN Bottleneck

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KEREM SHALOM CROSSING, Israel – There's no doubt that innocent people are suffering in Gaza. The major question remains, however: who's responsible?

CBN News traveled to the Kerem Shalom crossing at the Gaza border to get a better idea of the aid moving into Gaza.

Israel insists it is facilitating the movement of goods into the Gaza Strip.

Israel Defense Forces Colonel Elad Goren is responsible for expanding delivery and is attempting to do so by adding resources and having staff work longer hours.

“It means everything it can to mitigate the humanitarian consequences of Hamas's actions in the Gaza Strip,” Goren explained.

Kerem Shalom crossing sits on the border, with the Gaza Strip clearly visible on the other side of the fence. Huge delivery trucks drive to the border area, drop off their goods, and come back. The United Nations and other groups are responsible for bringing trucks on the other side to pick up the food and other goods and take them into the Gaza Strip for distribution.  

Before the outbreak of conflict last October, approximately 70 trucks a day went from Kerem Shalom through the gate into Gaza. Now, about 110 aid trucks daily take food to the residents of Gaza.

“Israel continues to increase the amount of food entering (in)to the Strip,” Goren reported, “and I hope that the U.N. will take responsibility over their steps and move trucks to the north.”

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Goren told CBN News there is no limit on the amount of aid allowed in, and he blames any problems on the other side of the crossing.

While we could see trucks entering and dropping off goods, piles of supplies waited to be distributed.

"Often there are hundreds of trucks worth of aid waiting on the Gazan side to be picked up,” Col. Goren stated. “That is the biggest obstacle to aid reaching (Gazans) in need.”

Even so, Goren claims aid groups keep asking for more without any specifics on how much is truly needed.

“(They) just keep saying, ‘More.’ And it doesn't matter if we will pass 1,000 trucks here, and they won't be able to collect it – they will say that there is a humanitarian crisis,” Goren insisted.

Israel maintains that 99 percent of trucks go through after an inspection to remove any potentially questionable or harmful materials.

According to Goren, “The trucks that are rejected are sent back for repackaging because they contain unapproved materials that Hamas can use for their terrorist activities.”

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These problems aren't new. In 2016, CBN News saw the complex realities of operating the Kerem Shalom crossing.

Ami Shaked, coordinator at the time, told journalists they lived and worked under constant threat of attack.

“This crossing point has a bad history with attacks,” Shaked said. “In 2008 it was totally destroyed by an attack by Hamas groups. In 2012, it was attacked by Jihad Global from Egypt – and Egypt is not far away from here. It’s 100 meters. And between these things, it was attacked by rockets and mortars from the Gaza side.”

Shaked also revealed how attempted smuggling of materials for Hamas existed back then.

“I can tell you in the last months we captured two kinds of important chemicals; let's say they're enough for 5,000 rockets,” he asserted.

Israel also claimed Hamas would divert concrete shipments meant for rebuilding Gaza to construct the terrorists’ attack tunnels.

“We found our cement on tunnels, underground, inside Gaza,” Shaked confirmed.

Despite the obstacles, Israel says it remains committed to getting humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza as the conflict with Hamas continues.

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About The Author

Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl is a correspondent for CBN News in the Middle East. A Hebrew speaker, she has been covering news in Israel fulltime for more than 20 years. Julie’s life as a journalist has been intertwined with CBN – first as a graduate student in Journalism; then as a journalist with Middle East Television (METV) when it was owned by CBN from 1989-91; and now with the Middle East Bureau of CBN News in Jerusalem since 2009. As a correspondent for CBN News, Julie has covered Israel’s wars with Gaza, rocket attacks on Israeli communities, stories on the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and