July 10, 2024
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Israeli Protesters Block Aid Shipment to Gaza

(JNS) Israeli protesters on Tuesday, Feb. 6 succeeded in stopping a convoy of aid trucks at the Kerem Shalom Crossing between Israel and Egypt.

The demonstrations, which began two and a half weeks ago, have pulled together Israelis from across the political spectrum who are incensed at the idea of allowing aid into the Gaza Strip, the majority of which ends up in the hands of Hamas, while the terror group continues to hold Israeli hostages.

“It is impossible, on the one hand, to fight Hamas to return the hostages and, on the other hand, to send it food and fuel,” Rachel Touitou, a spokeswoman for Tzav 9 (“Order 9”), the group behind the protests, told JNS. “We cannot both fight Hamas and feed it.”

On Tuesday, protesters blocked 132 trucks from entering Kerem Shalom, located at the southern tip of the Gaza Strip.

The success was a shot in the arm for Tzav 9, a reference to the Israel Defense Force’s “Order 8” used to call up reservists. (The protesters see themselves as reporting for duty, a kind of “citizens’ reserves.”)

According to Touitou, one of the reasons Tzav 9 is enjoying widespread support is that it is “apolitical.” Most of the organizers don’t belong to any political party and the group is careful not to involve politicians. “We are really a grassroots movement,” she explained.

The group has blocked aid trucks at the Kerem Shalom and Nitzana crossings. (The group is not behind similar protests at the port of Ashdod, but supports all efforts to stop supplies entering Gaza.)

It should be noted that Ynet, citing government sources, reported late Tuesday that the trucks did eventually go through. Touitou said that if they did, it wasn’t through the inspection point at Kerem Shalom, where protesters kept an all-night vigil, but she conceded it is possible the government used an alternate route.

Tzav 9 says the pressure needs to be kept up until the government gets the message that no more aid goes in until every hostage returns.

The protesters hope the government is taking a firmer stand. Touitou said that from Tsav 9’s perspective, if the government had adopted the approach of “humanitarian aid for humanitarian aid” from the beginning, that is, demanding at the very least the humane treatment of Israeli hostages as a precondition, and not bowing to U.S. pressure for the immediate entry of aid to Gaza, then all the hostages would already be back home.

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