COGAT: Israel can send 100s of aid trucks to Gaza but agencies stuck

Israel is working to allow more humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip, but the amount is being limited by the abilities of the various aid agencies responsible for collecting and distributing it, Col. Elad Goren, head of the Civil Department of COGAT, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, told a press briefing at the Israeli government media headquarters in Tel Aviv on Thursday.

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“We are working shoulder to shoulder with the international community to increase that,” Goren said.

Goren said that up to 250 trucks per day can enter Gaza through the Rafah crossing after passing inspections by Israel at Nitzana, and the Kerem Shalom crossing will reopen “in the next few days,” enabling more trucks to enter. However, he said the inspections and the crossings are not the issue.

“The problem is not Nitzana, the problem is the ability of the UN agencies to collect all the assistance,” he said.

A general view of the Rafah crossing from the Egyptian side, as a truck carrying humanitarian aid for Palestinians backs up from the other side, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Rafah, Egypt, November 12, 2023. (credit: REUTERS/HADEER MAHMOUD)

Addressing the situation in Gaza

Goren said that COGAT coordinates closely with the United States, Egypt, and the United Nations and holds daily assessments with agencies such as UNRWA (the UN Relief and Works Agency) and the Red Cross “to understand the real situation” in Gaza.

He said that some 16,000 tons of aid had entered the Gaza Strip to date, and six new warehouses had been set up at Rafah to store items. He also said Israel had provided some 28 million liters of fresh water “to people who are not part of terror.”

“We want all the essential information to supply the population and their needs. We want the international community to increase its support. It’s a matter of logistics.”

Goren also said that the Gazan population had been told to move to safe zones west of Khan Yunis in the southern part of the enclave, where battles are currently taking place.

“I’m sure you can appreciate the risks we are taking by declaring that there is a safe zone,” he said. “We want to ensure that the population goes to the safe zone, where the aid will be delivered.”

He also said that “a full mechanism” has been put in place to ensure that fuel and other aid reaches the civilian population and is not taken by Hamas.

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