Protecting Humanitarian Aid to Gaza From Right-Wing Extremists

23 May 2024
shipments of humanitarian aid

Last Monday, right-wing Israeli activists looted a humanitarian aid convoy on its way to Gaza. They ripped open bags of flour, crushed boxes of food, and later set fire to two of the trucks. This was not an isolated incident. Attacks on humanitarian convoys have become more and more frequent over the last few weeks. These vigilantes interrogate truck drivers, and have even physically assaulted them, in addition to vandalizing the aid in their trucks. But Standing Together has recently developed a response to these actions: they are bringing Israelis to protect these convoys at the sites where they are being attacked. They are calling this protective force the Humanitarian Guard. 

Representatives of Standing Together have said that they are protecting these aid trucks in order to ensure that the aid reaches people who need it in Gaza. Beyond that, they say, “we need to ensure that Israeli society holds onto its humanity and rejects this sort of extremism.”

Last Monday, May 20, NIF’s Mati Milstein photographed the Guard at the Tarqumiyah checkpoint, one of the flashpoints for intimidation and attacks by these right-wing activists. That day, all of the trucks were able to pass through unharmeda success for the Humanitarian Guard’s efforts that provided all of the activists present with some hope. 

Mati took a series of photos. Here is what he documented:

Right-wing activists attempt to block aid truck
As the first truck attempts to pass through the checkpoint, it is blocked by five young right-wing activists. They succeed in shutting down the crossing for nearly thirty minutes.

shipments of humanitarian aid
One Palestinian truck driver said many of his colleagues have been attacked, and noted that he and his wife are fearful for his safety every time he drives supplies through Israel.

Humanitarian Guard member speaking with Israeli police
Israeli police eventually arrive, but seem unable or unwilling to clear the road so that the trucks can pass. There are significant delays.

right-wing activists argue with members of the humanitarian guard right-wing activists attempt to block humanitarian aid
Heated arguments break out between right-wing activists and the Humanitarian Guard volunteers, who keep a close eye on the stalled trucks in an effort to prevent vandalism.

police forcibly remove a right-wing activist from blocking an aid truck a right-wing activist is escorted away by police
After a time, at approximately 1 PM, police forcibly clear the road of right-wing activists, allowing the final trucks to pull out safely and continue their journey to Gaza.

Humanitarian guard volunteers encourage aid truck drivers as they leave safely
Palestinian truck drivers honk their horns and give thumbs up to the Humanitarian Guard volunteers as they roll through the checkpoint. Volunteers cheer in return.