Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest has offered to build and install automated gates at Gaza border crossings to improve the flow of aid into the region.

The mining magnate is in Jordan for an emergency summit on Gaza aid, where he is pitching the so-called SafeGates proposal through his Minderoo Foundation.

“Being located at border crossing points into Gaza, the gates will be operated by a third party that will have remote monitoring capabilities over the facilities and scanning equipment,” Dr Forrest said in a statement.

Aid agencies have been forced to find alternative ways to get supplies into Gaza, including through airdrops and via a floating pier, because of the closure of, or gridlock at, land crossings.

The Minderoo Foundation said the United Nations had repeatedly identified a lack of scanning infrastructure and logistical support at existing crossings as contributing to the aid bottleneck.

‘The plan respects red lines’

The Minderoo Foundation would cover the cost of installing three gates and all associated equipment.

“There is no cost to Israel, and the plan respects red lines,” Dr Forrest said.

“On the Gazan side, we will work with the existing network of agencies, businesses, as well as Palestinian community groups for aid distribution within the Strip.”

A video presentation on the Minderoo Foundation website says the three SafeGates could be ready within three weeks if Israel gives its approval.

“The SafeGates solution is the key to enabling the required flow of vital humanitarian aid into Gaza,” the video says.

How would it work?

The video on the Minderoo Foundation website explains how the SafeGates system would work.

Before passing through a set of secure gates into a compound, a truck carrying aid would undergo a 3D computer scan to spot any security threats.

Once cleared, the driver leaves the compound through a rear door, before another driver on the Gazan side of the border enters to drive the truck out of the holding area.

The video shows the truck being scanned again on the Gazan side, where the trailer containing aid is detached and unloaded, then re-attached to the truck for the process to repeat in reverse.

Would it be effective?

Rick Brennan, the Regional Emergency Director at the World Health Organization, said the intention was good, but the problem was a highly complex one.

“If it results in opening more crossings, more land crossings, that would be very, very positive,” Mr Brennan said.

“Of course, the devil is in the detail there,” he said.

“How acceptable would this kind of system be to the Israelis? They’re the ones who are going to have to clear it. And how would it connect to distribution systems on the other side, inside Gaza?”

Marc Purcell, the CEO of aid peak body the Australian Council for International Development, said Israel already had the means to secure and streamline border crossings, but chose not to.

“Stepping into the security space is not what philanthropy is required to do,” Mr Purcell said.

“The Israeli military-industrial complex is one of the largest exporters of both weapons but also technology, spy technology, in the world,” he said.

“The Israelis have no problem in controlling the border, they have no problems in spying and seeing what goes in.

“It’s actually an issue of political will.”

Mr Purcell said other support already being provided by the Minderoo Foundation, including a donation of $US5 million ($7.5 million) to assist with the delivery of aid, was more useful.

“There’s an estimated need for $2.5 billion in assistance to get us through to December, so that’s for food, nutrition, health, medicines, shelter and sanitation. This is where philanthropy should focus.”

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