Israel to reopen Gaza goods crossing Wednesday if calm maintained

Israel to reopen Gaza goods crossing Wednesday if calm maintained
Israel will reopen the Kerem Shalom crossing, the main passage point for goods entering Gaza, in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah, if calm is maintained. (File photo / AFP)
Updated 14 August 2018

Israel to reopen Gaza goods crossing Wednesday if calm maintained

Israel to reopen Gaza goods crossing Wednesday if calm maintained
  • The decision coincides with Egyptian efforts to achieve a long-term cease-fire between Israel and Hamas
  • If calm prevails the Kerem Shalom crossing will open and the fishing limit will be increased to 9 miles from the shore

JERUSALEM: Israel will reopen its only goods crossing with the Gaza Strip on Wednesday if calm is maintained, after having prevented most deliveries since July 9 over border tensions, the defense ministry said Tuesday.
“Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman this afternoon held a situation assessment” with security chiefs, his office said in a statement on Tuesday.
“In the meeting it was decided that if the quiet which has been maintained on the Gaza border continues until tomorrow morning, Kerem Shalom crossing will open tomorrow at 9:00 am (0600 GMT) and the fishing zone will be expanded back to nine miles from the beach.”
Kerem Shalom has been closed to most goods since July 9. Fuel has intermittently been banned during that time, including since August 2, though food and medicine has been allowed.
Last month, Israel also reduced the limits of the fishing zone it allows fishermen off the blockaded Gaza Strip to three nautical miles offshore.
Gaza border protests and clashes broke out on March 30 and have led to months of tension that have also seen several military flare-ups.
At least 169 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza by Israeli fire since March 30, mostly during clashes and protests.
One Israeli soldier was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper in July.
There have been efforts by United Nations officials and Egypt to secure a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas, though Israeli officials have not commented on them.
A fragile truce came into effect Thursday night, mediated by Egypt and the UN, according to a source close to the negotiations.
Thursday saw extensive Israeli air strikes in retaliation for the launching of more than 180 rockets and mortar rounds by Hamas and its allies beginning on Wednesday night.
Three Palestinians were killed in the Israeli strikes, including a mother and her 18-month-old daughter, while seven Israelis were wounded by Palestinian rocket fire as hundreds took refuge in bomb shelters.
It was one of the most serious escalations since the 2014 Gaza war and followed months of rising tensions.
Gaza’s only other goods crossing is at Rafah on the Egyptian border but that checkpoint has largely been kept closed in recent years.