| 22 July 2024, Monday |

UN aid chief heads to Jordan for talks to open second crossing into Gaza

UN aid chief Martin Griffiths will travel to the Jordanian capital Amman on Wednesday for talks on the possibility of opening the Kerem Shalom crossing to allow for humanitarian aid to enter Gaza from Israel.

Located at the intersection of Israel, the Gaza Strip and Egypt, the Kerem Shalom crossing was used to carry more than 60% of the truckloads going into Gaza before the current conflict.

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

“We have said from start we need more than one crossing,” Griffiths told a briefing of member states at the United Nations in Geneva on Tuesday.

“The opportunity to use Kerem Shalom should be explored, and that will be topic in Amman. It would hugely add scope (to the response).”

A Western diplomat said there was no prospect of opening the Kerem Shalom crossing for the moment. The diplomat said that Israel does not want to open the crossing because their troops are located in the area.

There was no immediate comment from Israel.

Since a fragile truce came into force last week, some 200 trucks have carried aid into Gaza on a daily basis, but the amount of aid is nowhere near enough to meet the needs of its population.

“We know that more humanitarian aid should be delivered in Gaza. We know how we could increase it, but there are constraints beyond our control,” Griffiths said.

“We know that the people of Gaza need much more from us.”

Since the truce, the United Nations has scaled up the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza and sent aid to some northern areas that had been largely cut off for weeks due to Israeli bombing.

“We need to have reliable and scalable aid delivery mechanisms, that include all humanitarian partners – including NGOs,” Griffiths said.

“We are refining prioritization, advocating for more entry points and the resumption of (the) private sector.”


  • Asharq Al-Awsat