Gaza Humanitarian Aid Struggles at Rafah Border: Urgent Calls for Unimpeded Passage
Critical Supplies Await Passage as World Watches Tensions at the Gaza-Egypt Border
By: Beth Templeton
Humanitarian aid, sent to the Gaza strip from Egypt has been stuck at the Rafah border crossing unable to get through. Trucks are lined up at the border, making calls to the aid coordinators in Cairo, who have been permitted to send aid with critical care help for the hospitals in Gaza. There is confusion from both ends of these organizations, after they have been told “today or tomorrow” since the aid began to be sent after Israel began nation-wide airstrikes in Gaza two weeks ago.
Picture by Gigi Ibrahim from creative commons
On Saturday the 22nd of October, 20 trucks carrying this aid were allowed to cross the border - however aid workers have said this is insufficient due to the unprecedented situation currently in Gaza. There were more than 200 trucks with over 3,000 tons of aid waiting nearby for days, in hope more will be allowed through. The Israeli Government had insisted that nothing would enter Gaza unless the Hamas began to release their captives - and on the 21st of October, Hamas freed their first two captives. Despite this, it is unsure whether there was a direct connection between their release and the 20 trucks allowed through.
Cindy McCain, the head of the U.N’s World Food Programme has highlighted the importance of these aid trucks being allowed through the Rafah border stating, “We need many, many, many more trucks and a continual flow of aid.” Organizations around the world are stating the importance of the Rafah border being opened up, however the Israeli Government is yet to confirm whether they will allow this or not.
Joe Biden emphasized his support for the Rafah border to be opened and aid sent through it, saying “The United States remains committed to ensuring that civilians in Gaza will continue to have access to food, water, medical care, and other assistance, without diversion by Hamass.”
Simultaneously, in Egypt President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has called on masses to protest in support of the opening the Rafah border, the situation on the Rafah border has become crucial for the millions of Palestinians displaced by the airstrikes and attacks from Israel, however it is unclear whether there will be further negotiations on this or not.