Kerem Shalom border crossing reopens a day after Israeli strike

Aid deliveries were suspended after attack that killed Palestinian official overseeing the Gaza side of the checkpoint

Lorries carrying aid for Gaza arrive at Israel's Kerem Shalom border crossing. AFP
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As the UN on Friday prepared to vote on a long-delayed draft resolution to increase aid into Gaza, Israel reopened its Kerem Shalom border crossing.

It comes a day after humanitarian deliveries were suspended following an attack that killed four Palestinian border officials.

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees was “unable to receive trucks” through Kerem Shalom following the “drone strike”, the UN Secretary General's spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said on Thursday.

The World Food Programme also suspended operations at the crossing after the strike.

Kerem Shalom, between Israel and Gaza, opened on Sunday for aid deliveries for the first time since the Gaza conflict began on October 7.

Though limited numbers of aid lorries have also entered Gaza through the Rafah crossing from Egypt, none arrived on Thursday.

Seventy lorries carrying relief supplies and six carrying fuel entered Gaza through the Rafah crossing on Wednesday, Egyptian state media reported.

Israeli checks on aid deliveries have become more rigorous, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Wednesday.

A convoy of 46 lorries organised by the World Food Programme, in collaboration with a Jordanian charity, arrived in Gaza on Wednesday carrying 750 tonnes of food, the WFP said.

It was the first aid convoy to be allowed into Gaza through Jordan since the war began.

The UN warned on Thursday that one in four Gazans was suffering from starvation due to food and medicine shortages in the enclave.

The UN Security Council on Thursday postponed, for a third time, its vote on a draft resolution mandating the entry of more aid into Gaza, with the text also includes a clause on the “suspension of hostilities”. A vote on the resolution is set to take place on Friday.

The resolution had been stalled by the US, a permanent member of the Security Council, whose UN representative has lobbied for the removal of the “suspension of hostilities” from the draft.

Activists including Mary Robinson, a former UN high commissioner for human rights, have called on US President Joe Biden's administration to support the resolution and to limit its support for Israel to the bounds of international law.

“Biden’s support for Israel’s indiscriminate bombing of Gaza is losing him respect all over the world,” Ms Robinson said in a statement. “The US cannot afford to be further isolated by vetoing this resolution.”

On a visit to Cairo for talks with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, British Foreign Secretary David Cameron emphasised the UK's support for a “sustainable ceasefire” inside Gaza in which “Hamas is no longer able to threaten Israel with rockets”.

Lord Cameron also urged Israel to respect international law in its war on Gaza. The UK's calls for a “sustainable ceasefire” fall short of the “permanent ceasefire” called for by Arab countries.

Updated: December 22, 2023, 11:48 AM