After ongoing criticism of the stalling aid deliveries to the Gaza Strip, Israel wants to increase the capacity for handling trucks at the border, according to media reports.

The number of Palestinians killed since the start of the war rose to almost 17,200, according to the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health. There were fighting both in the southern city of Khan Yunis and in the northern Jabalia refugee camp. Egypt warned of a red line if Palestinians were pushed into its territory.

Media: Israel wants to allow more aid shipments to Gaza

Israel wants to use the Kerem Shalom border crossing to inspect aid deliveries in the coming days for the first time since the start of the war, the Times of Israel reported, citing a high-ranking government representative.

This should make it easier to import a larger number of trucks, the newspaper reported, citing the responsible Israeli Cogat authority. It was initially unclear how much more aid would come to the Palestinian coastal area.

Aid deliveries via another border crossing?

The United States and the international community have long been insisting on expanding aid to the suffering population in the Gaza Strip. According to the report, the USA also wants Israel to reopen Kerem Shalom for the import and export of aid transports. Currently, only checking deliveries is planned there. After clearance, the trucks should drive into the Gaza Strip via Rafah, the border crossing with Egypt. Since the beginning of the war, deliveries have come exclusively via Rafah. Before the war, around 500 trucks carrying humanitarian goods drove into the area sealed off by Israel every day; currently it is only a fraction.

The UN emergency aid coordinator Martin Griffiths sees chances of the Kerem Shalom border crossing from Israel to the Gaza Strip being opened soon. The UN Emergency Relief Office (OCHA) is still waiting for the green light, said Griffiths in Geneva, but it is now planning convoys from Jordan with relief supplies to travel through the Kerem Shalom border crossing. Like Egypt’s Rafah crossing, which is used for aid deliveries, it is also located in the south of the Gaza Strip. Kerem Shalom was the border crossing through which most aid supplies entered the Gaza Strip before the terrorist attack by extremist Palestinian groups on Israel on October 7th.

The use of Kerem Shalom makes caring for people in need a little easier. But only an end to Israeli attacks and a ceasefire could ensure the necessary help for the people. Humanitarian aid workers had not abandoned the people, he emphasized. But given the ongoing fighting, they could only reach people here and there; reliable supplies were not possible. “We have no planning security and none of us can see where this will lead,” said Griffiths. It is unclear where the people who were pushed by Israel into the south of the Gaza Strip should go and what their future is.

Hamas authority: Death toll in Gaza rises to almost 17,200

The number of Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip has risen to 17,177 since the start of the Gaza war, according to the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry. The ministry said 46,000 people were injured. On Tuesday, the authorities spoke of 16,248 deaths.

The number of victims cannot currently be independently verified, but the United Nations and other observers point out that the authority’s figures have proven to be overall credible in the past.

Egypt warns Israel against expelling Palestinians

The government in Cairo will not allow the residents of the coastal strip to be pushed towards or even onto the Sinai Peninsula, which belongs to Egypt, said the State Information Service (SIS). This would mean crossing a “red line” because Egypt sees this as a threat to the state’s national security and sovereignty. It also said that the Rafah crossing on the southern border of the Gaza Strip was “permanently open” to individuals and goods. All “obstacles to the transition” come from the Israeli side.

There have been no reports of major attempts by Gaza civilians to cross the border with Egypt. However, some people expressed fear that they would be forced to go to Egypt. Several residents in Khan Yunis told a dpa reporter that they were worried that they would not be allowed to return to the Gaza Strip later.

Fighting in Khan Yunis and Jabalia

Israel’s military continued fighting against Hamas in Khan Yunis, the largest city in the southern Gaza Strip. The army said dozens of terrorist positions had been attacked. Fighting also continues in the north of the coastal area. In Jabalia, soldiers attacked a Hamas military compound and also killed several terrorists. The military said they found tunnels and weapons in the area. Israel’s navy also shelled Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip again.

The Israeli army had previously reported that it had broken through Hamas’ defenses in Khan Yunis and was advancing deeper into the city. Experts suspect that the leadership of Hamas and thousands of its members may have entrenched themselves in an extensive network of tunnels. Many of the hostages still held are also believed to be there. Israeli soldiers temporarily surrounded the house of the Gaza leader of the Islamist Hamas, Jihia al-Sinwar. Eliminating Hamas leaders is seen as an important goal of Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip.

Emirates submit ceasefire resolution to UN

The United Arab Emirates presented a new draft resolution to the UN Security Council calling for a ceasefire. Similar initiatives have so far failed due to resistance from the USA. UN Secretary-General António Guterres had previously taken a rare step in urging the UN Security Council to work to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip. In a letter to the Security Council on Wednesday, the UN chief invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter for the first time since taking office in 2017.

“I repeat my call for a humanitarian ceasefire to be declared. This is urgent. The civilian population must be spared greater suffering,” the letter said.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell echoed Guterres’ call and called on EU members in the UN Security Council to support his move. The Palestinian Authority also welcomed the UN Secretary General’s move. Sharp criticism, however, came from Israel. “His request to activate Article 99 and the call for a ceasefire in Gaza constitutes support for the terrorist organization Hamas,” Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen wrote on X.