United Nations says there's no clarity over what aid is allowed into Gaza and Israel continues to halt trucks from entering the blockaded enclave, demanding assistance to rebuild must bypass its Hamas government.

A Palestinian policeman gestures as trucks carrying goods enter from the Israeli Kerem Shalom crossing into Rafah,  southern Gaza on May 25, 2021.
A Palestinian policeman gestures as trucks carrying goods enter from the Israeli Kerem Shalom crossing into Rafah, southern Gaza on May 25, 2021. (Reuters)

Much needed humanitarian aid for Gaza is being stalled at its border crossings controlled by Israel despite a ceasefire.

After 11 days of Israel's relentless bombing of the enclave, Gaza is struggling to pick up the pieces.

Critical shortages of food, water and medical supplies have been reported by the United Nations and Gaza officials after the deadly assault. 

By Monday, the Israeli defence ministry body in charge of crossings said it would allow humanitarian aid to enter the Palestinian enclave on Tuesday.

However, the UN says there is no clear directive on the nature of the aid Israelis will allow.

“There seems to be a lack of clarity on the kind of goods that can cross at this point," UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said. 

“The Erez crossing is open for international humanitarian personnel. Regarding the Kerem Shalom crossing ... No trucks containing humanitarian goods have crossed into Gaza today or commercial goods, we’re told,” he told reporters late on Monday.

Some hundreds of trucks are still waiting at various crossings to take aid into the enclave.

Over the weekend, Egypt opened the Rafah crossing and began sending in aid and also transferred injured to be treated in its hospitals.

READ MORE: Gaza rising from the ashes: The cycle of construction and destruction

Bypassing Gaza government to rebuild

An Israeli defence official said on Monday that aid to rebuild conflict-battered Gaza must bypass its Hamas government, and instead flow through an international "mechanism" to reach people directly.

Israel enforced a total blockade on Gaza in 2007 after the more religious Hamas party won an election against the more secular Fateh party and took control of the densely populated enclave.

Israel argues the measures are necessary to isolate Hamas.

US President Joe Biden said in a statement that part of Blinken's trip would include working on "the coordinated international effort to ensure immediate assistance reaches Gaza in a way that benefits the people there and not Hamas".

The Israeli official – who was not authorised to speak publicly on the matter – said the aid must be managed to rehabilitate Gaza "without posing a threat to Israel".

The official, who spoke a day before US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits the region, said aid deliveries would have to involve the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, which has worked with Hamas in the past to deliver donations to Gaza.

Blinken arrives

Blinken began a Middle East visit in Israel on Tuesday, seeking to bolster calm in the region.

Blinken was also due to visit Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, Cairo and Amman, with the US harbouring "every hope and expectation" the ceasefire would continue to hold, a senior State Department official said.

"Our primary focus is on maintaining the ceasefire, getting the assistance to the people who need it," said the official, who spoke on Monday on the condition of anonymity. Egypt brokered the truce, in coordination with the United States.

Blinken, due to remain in the region through Thursday, planned to meet Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Palestinian boy wounded

 A 16-year-old Palestinian youth was shot on Monday by occupying forces in the occupied West Bank.

Israeli soldiers opened fire on the boy as he was passing near an illegally occupied settlement west of Ramallah.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, witnesses said the boy had been wounded in the shoulder and was transferred to the Palestinian Medical Center in Ramallah by first aid teams affiliated with the Palestinian Red Crescent.

Health officials also noted that he underwent surgery and was in stable condition.

Human rights organisations accuse Israel of carrying out extrajudicial executions against Palestinians while Israeli forces continue their violations against Palestinians for allegedly attempting "knife attacks" or "crushing with a vehicle.”

READ MORE: Gaza rising from the ashes: The cycle of construction and destruction

Tensions escalated across Palestine over an Israeli court verdict to evict Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem in favour of settlement groups.

The situation flared up after Israeli forces raided Al Aqsa Mosque during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The tension spread to the Gaza on night of May 10, with Israel launching air strikes that killed at least 248 Palestinians, including 66 children, and injured more than 1,900 others. 

Health authorities in the West Bank have separately confirmed 31 killed in the region, totaling 279 across all Palestinian territories.

Twelve Israelis were also killed in rocket fire from the Gaza. The fighting, the fiercest in years, came to a halt on Friday under an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies