Humanitarian aid for Gaza began transiting through the Kerem Shalom crossing in Israel on Sunday, December 17. This second crossing, although “temporary” according to an Israeli official, will ease the transit through the Egyptian border crossing at Rafah.

A humanitarian aid convoy crossed into war-torn Gaza through the Israeli Kerem Shalom border crossing on Sunday, the first since Israel approved the move, an Egyptian Red Crescent official said.

A total of “79 trucks began entering today,” the official, who is not authorized to speak to the media, said on condition of anonymity.

Israel on Friday approved the “temporary” delivery of much needed aid to Gaza via its Kerem Shalom crossing.

The Gaza Strip is facing dire humanitarian conditions after more than two months of war, during which aid has only been allowed to trickle in through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

Kerem Shalom, which sits on Gaza’s border with Israel, recently began inspecting shipments of aid bound for the territory, but the trucks still had to travel to Rafah afterwards to enter.

COGAT, the Israeli defense ministry body responsible for Palestinian civilian affairs, stated Sunday that “starting today (December 17), UN aid trucks will undergo security checks and be transferred directly to Gaza via Kerem Shalom.”

Kerem Shalom was used for 60 percent of goods entering the besieged Palestinian territory before October 7, when Hamas militants attacked Israel, killing some 1,140 people, mostly civilians, and abducting 250 hostages, according to Israeli officials.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive, including aerial bombardment and a ground invasion, has killed around 18,800 people, mostly women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry, and reduced much of the territory to rubble.

The UN estimates 1.9 million people have been displaced, while aid groups fear the territory will soon be overwhelmed by starvation and disease.

Malo Pinatel, with AFP