Israel agrees to open Kerem Shalom crossing -US official

Israel and the United Nations signaled on Thursday that the Kerem Shalom crossing in Israel could soon be opened to help speed up delivery of humanitarian supplies into Gaza, where the Israel-Hamas war has left people desperately short of basic needs.

In Israel, Colonel Elad Goren, head of the civil department at COGAT, the Israeli agency for civilian coordination with the Palestinians, told reporters: “We will open Kerem Shalom just for inspection. It will happen in the next few days.”

A senior US official said that Israel has agreed, at US request, to open Kerem Shalom crossing for inspections and screening. Washington has been negotiating with the Israelis on the issue for weeks.

In Geneva, United Nations aid chief Martin Griffiths told reporters that negotiations were under way. “There are promising signs now that that may be able to open soon,” he said.

Palestinian police officers stand at the entrance to the crossing of Kerem Shalom on September 10, a month before the war. (credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/REUTERS)

If that were to happen, Griffiths said it would represent a major boost for humanitarian operations seeking more access to the densely populated Palestinian enclave, which has been widely devastated by Israeli bombardment in the two-month-old war.

“It would be the first miracle we’ve seen for some weeks, but would also be a huge boost to the logistical process and logistical base of a humanitarian operation,” he said about the possible opening of Kerem Shalom.

Aid into Gaza

Aid currently being allowed into Gaza comes only through the Rafah crossing on the Egyptian border, which was designed for pedestrian crossings and not trucks.

The Kerem Shalom crossing was used to carry more than 60% of the truckloads going into Gaza before war erupted on Oct. 7. It sits at Gaza’s southern border with Israel and Egypt and Griffiths said both Israel and Egypt had become much more open to the idea of reviving the route.

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