Few Signs of Progress on Aid to Gaza, Despite Israeli Pledges

Nearly a week after Israel pledged to increase aid to Gaza by reopening a border crossing and accepting aid shipments at an Israeli port, neither the crossing nor the port has been put to the promised use, and there is no apparent sign of preparations to use them.

Facing international condemnation after an Israeli airstrike killed seven workers for an international aid group, Israel said it would reopen the Erez crossing between Israel and northern Gaza for aid delivery. But satellite imagery taken on Tuesday shows that the road leading to Erez on the Gaza side remains blocked by rubble from a destroyed building, a crater and other damage.

The damage was also seen in satellite imagery last month and again last Friday. Though there may be other ways for aid trucks to pass at Erez, there is no apparent sign in the latest imagery that repairs are being carried out to make the main road passable. Before Israel closed it at the start of the crossing was used by pedestrians, not supply trucks.

Shimon Freedman, a spokesman for COGAT, the Israeli agency that oversees policy for the Palestinian territories, declined to comment on when the Erez crossing or the port at Ashdod, around 20 miles northeast of Gaza on Israel’s Mediterranean coast, would be opened for aid deliveries.

The United Nations says that a man-made famine is looming in Gaza, and many experts say that conditions in northern Gaza — which has mostly been cut off from aid deliveries since early in the war — already meet the criteria for a famine to be declared there. In that part of the territory, a few hundred thousand people are surviving on an average of 245 calories a day, according to Oxfam, an aid group.

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