Israel presses UN to ‘scale up’ efforts as undelivered aid piles up at crossings

Distribution of aid has been mired in controversy and failures in recent days.

By Pesach Benson, TPS

Israel called on the United Nations to “scale up” its efforts to distribute humanitarian aid on Thursday as goods continued piling up at Gaza’s border crossings.

“On the Gazan side of the Kerem Shalom Crossing, where over 1,000 trucks are awaiting collection and distribution, here too in the JLOTS collection and distribution compound, there are hundreds of aid pallets awaiting collection and distribution by the UN aid agencies,” said the military’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) in a statement.

“We have said in the past, and we continue to say so now – the UN has a duty to scale up its logistical capabilities of collecting and distributing the humanitarian aid. We [are continuing] with our efforts – now it is your duty to complete the job,” the statement added.

COGAT also posted on social media a video of hundreds of pallets of aid sitting in the sun.

“This is an areal [sic] view of the loading and unloading area of the JLOTS,” COGAT tweeted, referring to a $230 million offshore pier built by the US Navy. “Here too, just like the Gazan side of Kerem Shalom pallets of aid are waiting to be picked up and distributed by the @UN aid agencies for days.”

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COGAT reported that 285 aid trucks were transferred to the Gaza Strip via the Kerem Shalom and Erez crossings.

However, it noted that “Only 88 aid trucks were collected by UN aid agencies and the private sector. 33 trucks were collected from the Erez crossing, and only 55 trucks were collected from Kerem Shalom. The content of 1,100 aid trucks is waiting to be collected from the Gazan side of Kerem Shalom.” The figures did not include the undelivered pallets of aid offloaded from the US pier.

Distribution of aid has been mired in controversy and failures in recent days.

The Wall St. Journal reported on Tuesday that Palestinians have been smuggling cigarettes hidden in the aid deliveries, and that Palestinians have been attacking the convoys to get to the tobacco.

According to the report, the attacks have led to more than 1,000 truckloads of undelivered aid piling up on the Gaza side of the Kerem Shalom border crossing.

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Meanwhile, a US-built offshore pier will be dismantled weeks ahead of schedule due to a combination of high seas and security concerns, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.

Built at a cost of $230 million, the pier was only operational for 10 days.

A UN committee of experts said in a recently released report that there is “no supporting evidence” to conclude that there is a famine in Gaza while an Israeli acaemdic study concluded that Hamas is the biggest threat to food security in Gaza.

When Hamas slashed food prices in April, Gaza residents told The Press Service of Israel that the problem wasn’t a lack of food but a shortage of money for families to purchase it.

At least 1,200 people were killed, and 252 Israelis and foreigners were taken hostage in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on October 7. Of the 116 remaining hostages, more than 30 are believed dead.