U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Jeff Merkley (D_OR), visited the Rafah and the Kerem Shalom crossings into Gaza yesterday to observe the inspection of relief supplies being carried by truck. They found, as reported by AP, a cumbersome process that is slowing relief to the Palestinian population in the besieged territory—largely due to Israeli inspections of aid cargos, with seemingly arbitrary rejections of vital humanitarian equipment. They are reported to have said that the system to ensure that aid deliveries within Gaza doesn’t get hit by Israeli forces is “totally broken.”
Despite the Dec. 22 UNSC resolution demanding the opening up of humanitarian assistance flows into Gaza and the opening of the Kerem Shalom crossing, 16 days later the rate of trucks entering the strip has not risen significantly. The daily average this past week has only been about 120 trucks per day, less than a quarter of the traffic prior to Oct. 7 and not nearly enough to meet the daily needs of 2 million displaced people.