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Israel to reopen north Gaza crossing ‘temporarily’ for aid.

Israel has declared the reopening of the Beit Hanoon (Erez) crossing with northern Gaza for aid, following a warning from United States President Joe Biden urging steps to safeguard civilians and humanitarian workers amid Israeli military strikes on a food charity’s team. The decision comes amidst nearly six months of relentless Israeli attacks and siege on Gaza, resulting in a staggering death toll exceeding 33,000 and dire warnings of an impending famine, exacerbating the region’s displacement and hunger crises.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office issued a statement announcing Israel’s intention to “temporarily” open the Ashdod port to receive humanitarian aid, which would then be transported to the Erez crossing. This marks the first reopening of Erez since the conflict erupted in October. Furthermore, Israel plans to augment aid from Jordan through the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing with southern Gaza. Israel’s rationale behind these measures is to avert a humanitarian catastrophe and ensure the continuation of the conflict to achieve its war objectives.

Following a tense exchange between Biden and Netanyahu over the phone, the White House emphasized the imperative for an “immediate ceasefire” and hinted at potential alterations in US support for Israel if aid efforts are not intensified. However, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, while addressing EU leaders in Belgium, suggested a more gradual approach, asserting that the outcomes would unfold in the coming days and weeks.

Amid mounting international pressure and outrage, particularly following the deaths of seven aid workers from World Centre, Israel’s decision to reopen the crossings reflects a response to global concerns and underscores the potential impact of US intervention on its policies regarding Gaza. The move signals a recognition of the urgent need for humanitarian assistance in the region and hints at a willingness to heed international calls for de-escalation and ceasefire efforts.

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