Cabinet approves Israel's reopening of northern Gaza border crossing for first time since October 7, official says

Mostafa Algarouf/Anatolu/Getty Images

On February 29, 2024, Israeli soldiers were stationed at the Erez border with heavy weapons and military vehicles.


Israel's Defense Cabinet has approved the reopening of the Erez crossing between Israel and northern Gaza for the first time. October 7 Hamas attacksAn Israeli official told CNN Thursday.

The Israeli official said the crossing would be opened to allow more humanitarian aid into besieged Gaza. The cabinet also approved the use of the Israeli port of Ashdod to deliver additional aid to Gaza.

That comes later US President Joe Biden Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that the overall humanitarian situation in Gaza had become unacceptable and warned Israel to take action to resolve the crisis or face the consequences.

The Erez crossing, a pedestrian crossing, was one of the border crossings when Hamas militants launched a bloody attack on Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking 250 hostages.

It is not clear how the reopening will be implemented; The amount of aid deliveries allowed through the crossings along Gaza's southern border so far has been insufficient compared to the level of human suffering in the territory.

News of the reopening has been greeted with caution by the United Nations. “This is positive news, but we have to see how it is implemented. We need a humanitarian ceasefire and massive aid,” UN Secretary-General's spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Thursday.

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, the main aid agency for Gaza, has been sidelined by Israel and restricted in parts of the settlement – particularly in the north, where the risk of famine is high. Cases of starvation reported.

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Since January, residents of northern Gaza have been forced to survive on an average of just 245 calories a day, according to Oxfam.

Thursday's announcement comes amid international outrage over Israeli strikes that killed seven aid workers from the World Central Kitchen in Gaza. Israel said the attack was not deliberate.

Israel's blockade of Gaza since the October 7 terror attack has killed at least 32,916 people, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, and led to a humanitarian crisis.Three fourths People in northern Gaza are suffering from catastrophic starvation, according to a UN-backed report.

Land crossings into Gaza, through which much of the vital aid has traditionally entered the border, are heavily restricted by Israel. Aid agencies blamed IsraelIt also barred aid from entering the war-torn region, but Israel said there was “no limit” to the amount of aid that could enter.

Before the war began, Israel blocked all access to Gaza by sea and air, and tightly controlled land crossings. It was Two operational crossovers with the enclave : Erez, which was for the movement of people, and Kerem Shalom, for goods.

Gaza also has a crossing with Egypt at Rafah, which is run by Egyptian authorities. Although Israel does not have direct control over this crossing, it monitors all activities in southern Gaza.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant has pledged to cut off electricity, food, water and fuel supplies to the Palestinian territories after October 7.

Aid began to flow through Rafah in late October and, following pressure from the United States, Israel began. Aid trucks were allowed to pass through Kerem ShalomIn late December – but at a much lower rate than the 500 commercial and aid trucks the day before the war.

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Today, all 2.2 million people in Gaza do not have enough food, with half the population on the brink of starvation and famine expected to hit the north “anytime between mid-March and May.” Integrated Food Safety Phase Classification (IPC).

The World Central Kitchen was central to the popular new sea route from Cyprus, but it halted operations in Gaza after Israeli airstrikes killed its workers, along with at least two aid organizations.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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