Israel agrees to open another border crossing for aid, the White House says

SOUTHERN ISRAEL - JANUARY 03: Dogs walk near the entrance to the damaged Erez Crossing, one of the sites attacked on October 7th 2023, on January 03, 2024 in Southern Israel. Prior to annnouncing the withdrawal of some troops from Gaza, Israel extended its ground offensive into densely populated neighborhoods in the central part of the territory, forcing a fresh wave of displacement to south. Meanwhile, its aerial campaign continued apace across the territory as it seeks to destroy Hamas following the militant group's Oct. 7 attack, which left 1,200 dead and scores of Israelis held hostage. In the ensuing war, more than 21,000 have been killed in Gaza, according to the territory's Hamas-run health ministry. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

Israel had agreed to open an additional crossing so that aid could get through to Gaza, the Biden administration said Thursday evening.

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The National Security Council in a statement said that Israel agreed to open the Erez crossing to get aid into northern Gaza. According to The New York Times, this would also include opening the port of Ashdod.

The announcement came hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Biden had a call, according to the Times. In the call, Biden told Netanyahu that future support from the U.S. depends on how Israel plans to protect civilians as well as aid workers, according to The Associated Press.

Biden also told Netanyahu that an “immediate cease-fire is essential,” the AP reported.

Netanyahu’s office said that his Security Cabinet approved steps to increase aid to Gaza, the AP reported. His office said that the Erez crossing will reopen temporarily. This Erez Crossing was previously used as a passenger terminal so that people could go in and out of Gaza.

“We welcome the steps announced by the Israeli government tonight at the President’s request following his call with Prime Minister Netanyahu. These steps, including a commitment to open the Ashdod port for the direct delivery of assistance into Gaza, to open the Erez crossing for a new route for assistance to reach north Gaza, and to significantly increase deliveries from Jordan directly into Gaza, must now be fully and rapidly implemented,” the White House said in a statement.

It’s not clear when the Erez crossing and the port of Ashdod will be reopened, according to CNN.

It will be the first time the crossing will be reopened since Oct. 7, according to CNN. It was destroyed during the Hamas attack, the AP reported.

“As the President said today on the call, U.S. policy with respect to Gaza will be determined by our assessment of Israel’s immediate action on these and other steps, including steps to protect innocent civilians and the safety of aid workers,” White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said, according to the AP.

“This is positive news but, of course, we will have to see how this is implemented. We need a humanitarian ceasefire and a massive influx of aid,” spokesperson to the United Nation’s Secretary General, Stephane Dujarric, said Thursday, according to CNN.

Sunday marks six months since the Oct. 7 attacks, according to CNN.

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