| 21 February 2024, Wednesday |

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

On Wednesday, U.N. Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths will visit Amman, Jordan, to hold discussions about potentially opening the Kerem Shalom gate to permit humanitarian supplies to flow from Israel into Gaza.

Before the current crisis, over 60% of truckloads entering Gaza were transported through the Kerem Shalom crossing, which is situated at the intersection of Israel, the Gaza Strip, and Egypt.

Currently, aid entering Gaza passes through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, which was intended for pedestrian use rather than truck traffic.

“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.”

  • Reuters