Israeli protesters block aid convoy headed to Gaza

Israeli protesters block aid convoy headed to Gaza
A drone view shows a trail of trucks lining up on a road near Mitzpe Ramon following a protest aiming to prevent humanitarian aid from arriving to Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, near Mitzpe Ramon, southern Israel May 9, 2024.
PHOTO: Reuters file

JERUSALEM — Israeli protesters blocked aid trucks headed for Gaza on Monday (May 13), strewing food packages on the road in the latest in a series of incidents that have come as Israel has pledged to allow uninterrupted humanitarian supplies into the besieged enclave.

Four protesters, including a minor, were arrested at the protest, at Tarqumiya checkpoint, west of Hebron in the Israeli occupied West Bank, according to a statement from lawyers representing the protesters.

Videos circulated on social media showed protesters throwing supplies from the trucks onto the ground, with the contents of opened cartons lying spilt across the road.

"The aid that the State of Israel transfers goes directly into the hands of Hamas," a statement from the Order 9 group which organised the protests said.

The group said that as long as Israel "gives gifts to Hamas and the possibility of total control over the Gaza Strip through ownership of the distribution of aid," Hamas would have no interest in a deal that would bring home the more than 100 hostages it has captive.

Last week, four people were arrested in southern Israel after a similar protest by Israelis who object to delivering humanitarian supplies into an area controlled by the Islamist movement Hamas, according to their lawyers.

"In light of incidents of disorderly conduct which occurred today, law enforcement has initiated an investigation culminating in the arrest of multiple suspects," the Israeli police said in a statement. "The investigation is actively ongoing."

Israel has faced heavy international pressure to step up the flow of aid into Gaza, where international organisations have warned of a severe humanitarian crisis threatening a population of more than two million people.

On Sunday, Israeli authorities announced the opening of a new crossing into northern Gaza and a temporary port, built by the United States, is close to opening.

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