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Crux of Gaza cease-fire: border crossings

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"Unless the crossing points open, what we have are basics that are only keeping people alive. Miserable, but alive," says John Ging, the head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the main United Nations agency dealing with aid to Palestinians.

"There's a lot of money out there, available to be used for help, but what needs to happen is to get the crossings open," says Mr. Ging. "There are thousands of tons of aid waiting to get in, boxes and boxes of it. They're in Egypt, they're in Jordan, and they're also in Israel. We have been sitting on $97 million budgeted to us for the past year-and-a-half, but we can't get the supplies in so we don't spend it."

Since the cease-fire a week ago Sunday, Israel has been gradually admitting more supplies, enabling the transfer of humanitarian goods and some aid workers through three of the five active crossings it controls: Kerem Shalom, Nahal Oz, and Erez. Since the beginning of the war, Israel says it has allowed 70,035 tons of humanitarian supplies into Gaza.

Unilateral cease-fires were holding by a thread after one Israeli soldier was killed and three wounded in a roadside bomb Tuesday; a Palestinian was also killed and one Gaza militant wounded following the bombing. Israel had said it would allow in food, medicine, and other essentials, but after the attack, Israel temporarily sealed its crossings.

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