He described the humanitarian situation in Gaza as "catastrophic," adding: "It is absolutely essential - absolutely essential - to have a flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza that corresponds to the dramatic needs that the population is facing."

The United Nations has been working to increase humanitarian aid deliveries to Gaza. Guterres said that in the past 18 days only 630 trucks had been able to enter via the Rafah border crossing from Egypt. The United Nations also wants to be able to use the Kerem Shalom border crossing, controlled by Israel.


Is there a reason why Israel won't let the United Nations use the Kerem Shalom border crossing, which is controlled by Israel, to provide more humanitarian aid to Gaza? Is it a security reason, political or both? Did Israel give an official explanation as to why it won't let the United Nations use the Kerem Shalom border crossing yet?

  • 7
    Not an answer but didn't Israel say they would allow such things once the hostages taken to Gaza are returned? Nov 8, 2023 at 18:45

2 Answers 2


It is necessary to note that at the moment of writing the Kerem Shalom crossing has been reopened:

A convoy of 80 aid trucks for Gaza was sent from Egypt to the Kerem Shalom crossing for checks on Tuesday after a new inspection system was opened in an effort to accelerate deliveries of relief, a Red Crescent official said.

I am not aware of a public statement about closing Kerem Shalom, but military and political grounds have been cited in negotiations with the US:

But Israel is resisting American pleas on military and political grounds, the latest in a series of pushbacks that has occasionally put Washington and Tel Aviv at odds on the conduct of the war, particularly how much to prioritize civilian harm reduction.

Military reasons
Kerem Shalom crossing is one of the best equipped crossings (or the best) for transferring goods to Gaza - in terms of accessibility for the large number of trucks, capacity for quickly inspecting the goods, etc. However, for this reason it has been historically an object of multiple Hamas attacks (disrupting the flow of goods to Gaza), as well as a vulnerability in terms of Hamas fighters penetrating into the Israeli territory. Indeed, Hamas used it already in 2006 in the raid that led to capture Gilad Shalit, and it also used it in the 7/10 attacks (image source):
enter image description here
Caption: Map of Kerem Shalom border checkpoint and screengrabs of Hamas video of crossing at this location.

Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, located near the crossing was one of the first to be attacked on October 7.

Political reasons
Already in the past the Israeli government has been often criticized for supplying the enemy while at war, allowing for humanitarian pauses, etc. Presumably, the closure served to avoid such criticism and to alleviate the post-7/10 trauma (by not rubbing in the continuing Israeli support to Gaza):

But the Israeli government has taken steps to disconnect from Gaza following Hamas’s October 7 terror onslaught and is also limiting the scope of aid it is allowing into Gaza so long as the hostages aren’t released or visited by the Red Cross.



Likely a few reasons.

First, it would create another target for Hamas, which is a problem. And it's a big problem. Right now, the last thing Israel wants is fighting in the south of the Gaza Strip. It's entire plan is mass evacuations to the south for citizens, so it can clear out Gaza City in the North. If there's fighting in the south, that becomes a lot less safe. And an Israeli Border crossing will attract violence like flies to rotting meat.

Second, I highly doubt Israel trusts the UN (given the UN frequently tried to sanction Israel), so I doubt that there's any political will to help out the UN. The UN is not a neutral arbiter in this fight, as Israel sees it, so Israel sees no reason to help them do anything.

Third, I doubt that Israel is going to officially respond to the UN's request unless it is to open the crossing. Because telling them "No" just invites a new occasion to condemn Israel.

  • 6
    This answer is completely opinion based and cites no sources.
    – Ben Cohen
    Feb 4 at 13:41
  • 2
    It isn't opinion based. I cite facts, facts that you might disagree with, but facts nonetheless. Maybe I don't cite sources for those facts, but that still doesn't make this opinion based. The UN's bias against Israel is provable. The Palestinian Radicals in the UNRWA is provable. Feb 5 at 19:52
  • 1
    I locked this answer due to an edit war. When someone reverts your edit, please don't just make the same edit again. Start a discussion in the comments instead why you think your edit is a necessary improvement.
    – Philipp
    Feb 14 at 9:16
  • @theresawalrus Erdan angrily denounced the United Nations on October 27 that it "no longer holds even one ounce of legitimacy or relevance." If Israel declares its distrust of the United Nations for legitimate reasons rather than simply to absolve itself of guilt, should the resolution establishing the state of Israel also be invalidated?
    – Jack_here
    Mar 6 at 8:52
  • @theresawalrus As a friendly reminder, the last person who dared to speak like this at the United Nations was Gaddafi. The difference, of course, is that Gaddafi does not have the support of the United States and its allies.
    – Jack_here
    Mar 6 at 9:07

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