The New York Times had reported that the first goods to enter Hamas-ruled enclave since the war erupted on Oct. 7 were not screened.
Israel denied on Saturday that some 20 trucks carrying aid into the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip earlier in the day were not checked for weapons and contraband.
“At the request of the U.S. administration, humanitarian aid [comprising] only water, food and medical equipment went through Egypt’s Rafah crossing into the southern Gaza Strip. All equipment was inspected before entering Gaza,” according to a statement from Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories.
“We emphasize that Israel has the ability to verify that nothing other than [the] aforementioned was brought in or removed,” the statement added.
The New York Times cited U.N. spokesman Stéphane Dujarric earlier on Saturday as saying that the first aid to enter Gaza since the war erupted on Oct. 7 was not screened. Instead, he said the trucks had entered the enclave via an “expedited process,” under which a cargo manifest was submitted to the United States, Egypt and Israel and the aid distributed by the Red Cross.
Dujarric said the process would not be used again, and could not confirm when additional trucks would be allowed to enter.
The goods crossed into the Gaza Strip via Egypt on Saturday for the first time since Hamas’s Oct. 7 invasion of southern Israel that left 1,400 people dead, at least 4,100 wounded and 200 others held hostage by the terrorist group.
“The opening of this essential supply route was the result of days of exhaustive U.S. diplomatic engagement in the region and an understanding President [Joe] Biden reached with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi,” said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday.
“We urge all parties to keep the Rafah crossing open to enable the continued movement of aid that is imperative to the welfare of the people of Gaza. We have been clear: Hamas must not interfere with the provision of this life-saving assistance. Palestinian civilians are not responsible for Hamas’s horrific terrorism, and they should not be made to suffer for its depraved acts,” added the statement.
More than 200 trucks carrying some 3,000 tons of cargo have amassed at the crossing after being held up for days.
IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said on Saturday that food, water and medical supplies would be permitted into Gaza, but that “fuel will not enter.”
Families of the captives have expressed anger at Netanyahu’s approval of the aid deliveries.
Image: United Nations vehicles and empty trucks wait for the arrival of aid on the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, Oct. 21, 2023. Photo by Atia Mohammed/Flash90.