Dozens of Israeli protesters block Gaza aid convoys at Kerem Shalom crossing

Dozens of Israeli protesters block Gaza aid convoys at Kerem Shalom crossing
Demonstrations organised by a Zionist NGO blocked aid convoys from entering Gaza on Thursday in the latest in a series of disruption to Gaza aid.
3 min read
28 March, 2024
Israeli protesters seek to stop any aid from reaching Gaza, as famine looms in the Palestinian enclave [Getty]

Dozens of Israelis blockaded the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing into Gaza on Thursday, including far-right groups, families, relatives of captives and even a group of schoolchildren, part of an ongoing movement aimed at disrupting aid delivery to Palestinians in the war-torn enclave.

A scuffle broke out between Israeli border police and a group of young men, believed to be activists affiliated with the Zionist NGO Im Tirtzu. The activists, who had formed a human barricade by sitting on the ground with linked arms next to the Gaza border wall and started a bonfire, refused to disperse.

Three people were arrested for attacking officers, violating a military order, and violating public order, according to Israeli media reports. The New Arab contacted Israeli police for confirmation.

One video shared online showed around 15 children arriving off a coach early on Thursday carrying rucksacks and bottles of water, to join the demonstrators at Karem Abu Salem.

Since January, various groups of Israeli activists have been organizing demonstrations to block convoys from entering the war-torn enclave. Many of the protesters claim that the aid is boosting Hamas fighters and believe that there is no need for humanitarian assistance in Gaza.

Videos online posted by Israeli journalist Chezki Baruch from Israel National News showed police reprimanding a number of young men who were sitting down by the border fence. The officers had to physically drag the individuals away after they refused to move.

Some of those in the video can be seen wearing black t-shirts with "Returning to the Gaza Strip" written in Hebrew, referring to the January conference calling for Israelis to resettle in Gaza, which was attended by far-right Israeli politicians.

The protests have disrupted an already clogged aid distribution system at a critical time for the people of Gaza, who are facing widespread hunger and disease. Aid agencies have called on Israel to open further border crossings and to address the protests, which have been ongoing for weeks.

UK-based charity Oxfam said in March that "the frequent blocking of the only entry point open from Israel at Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) by Israeli protestors has either caused severe delays or brought the trickle of aid and supplies entering to a complete halt".

Israeli authorities have claimed to be controlling the demonstrators which include far-right Jewish groups, relatives of captives remaining in Gaza, army reservists, and families with young children.

In some cases, people have set up tents and camped out, playing music and cooking communal food. Since the war began, calls have grown louder from some of Israel's far-right politicians for the resettlement of Israelis in Gaza, a move that would be illegal under international law.