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President Herzog faults UN for insufficient aid in Gaza, calls efforts 'utter failure'

Israeli President Isaac Herzog meets with the President of the French Senate, Dec. 21, 2023 (Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO)

The United Nations is responsible for the still relatively little amount of aid that is entering the Gaza Strip, even after Israel opened up its Kerem Shalom Border Crossing to increase the amount of aid entering the Gaza Strip, Israeli President Isaac Herzog said on Thursday.  

“Unfortunately, due to the utter failure of the UN in its work with other partners in the region, they have been unable to bring in more than 125 trucks [of aid] a day,” Herzog said in a meeting with visiting French Senate President Gérard Larcher.

Herzog said it is possible to bring three times that amount, but that the UN is not doing its job.

“Today it is possible to provide three times the amount of humanitarian aid to Gaza if the UN — instead of complaining all day – would do its job,” Herzog said.

Israel has been inspecting hundreds of trucks per day at its Kerem Shalom and Nitzana border crossings and says that many of the trucks still remain outside of Gaza, while the UN and Egypt have been arguing that Israel’s military activities in Gaza make it too dangerous to deliver aid in Gaza.  

The UN and other actors have consistently been complaining that Israel is not allowing enough aid into Gaza, however, videos have surfaced showing that Hamas steals most of the aid. The videos show masked and armed men affiliated with Hamas sitting on top of the humanitarian supplies – usually food, water, medicine and fuel – as the trucks drive deeper into the Strip. In addition, other videos have shown angry Gazans uncovering stockpiles of aid in UNRWA buildings that remain undistributed to citizens.

Herzog told Larcher on Thursday that Israel needs to keep pressuring Hamas to return the hostage, adding that Israel “made it clear that it is ready for a humanitarian truce and the continuation of humanitarian aid to Gaza to allow the return of the hostages.”

The president said Israel is “working to facilitate a dramatic increase in humanitarian aid entering Gaza from the very first moment. We can enable the entry of 300 or even 400 trucks a day, this is tens of thousands of tons of humanitarian aid a day.”

The UN released a report on Thursday that claimed more than half a million people in Gaza are starving due to “woefully insufficient” quantities of food entering the territory.

On Wednesday, the UN said it had delivered food into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing in the first direct aid convoy from Jordan. The 46-truck convoy carried more than 750 tons of goods.

“This crucial first step could pave the way for a more sustainable aid corridor through Jordan and allow for the delivery of more aid at scale,” the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said.

“Delivering food from Jordan, to Gaza through Kerem Shalom crossing, will increase the volume and speed of food reaching the Gaza Strip, as millions face the risk of starvation,” the UN WFP noted.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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