Here are the most fraught sticking points, according to the officials and diplomats directly involved in or briefed on the talks. They spoke on condition of anonymity to share details of the evolving discussions.
Quantity and flow of aid
Israel would like for 20 trucks to pass into Gaza, but won’t commit on future aid flows. The international community wants the number to grow to 100 or more trucks a day.
“What is certainly undoubtedly needed is a steady flow of much bigger quantities of humanitarian assistance,” the European Union humanitarian aid commissioner, Janez Lenarcic, said in an interview on Friday. The E.U. is the biggest international aid donor to the Palestinians and has dozens of tons of aid on the Egyptian side of the border waiting to be delivered.
Destination of aid
Israel wants aid be delivered to southern Gaza, not northern Gaza where it had demanded last week that civilians leave, in an apparent run-up to a ground invasion. But hundreds of thousands of people remain in northern Gaza, facing dire humanitarian needs.
“Humanitarian aid should go to all places where there are people who need it,” Mr. Lenarcic said.
Type of aid
Israel wants food, medicine and water to be distributed, but international donors are pushing to expand the list of permitted items to include fuel, among other items. Fuel is particularly contentious, as Israel worries it could get diverted to Hamas to be used for weapons or its vehicles.
The U.N. and other international donors say that fuel is essential — a matter of life or death, especially for Gaza’s hospitals that are relying on backup generators with Israel having cut off electricity in the territory. Fuel is also needed to restart desalination facilities for potable water, as Israel has also stopped Gaza’s water supply.
Israel wants some direct involvement in scrutinizing the cargo that enters Gaza, to ensure that trucks are not carrying weapons. The international community is pressing instead to give trained United Nations staff this task, replicating the model used for aid delivery in Syria.
The United Nations generally prefers that inspections be in the hands of neutral parties so that it cannot be politicized.
Patrick Kingsley contributed reporting from Jerusalem.