Israel to reopen Gaza goods crossing Wednesday if calm maintained

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.

“Defence 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 (local time) 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.

Israel says its blockade is necessary to keep Gaza’s rulers Hamas from obtaining weapons or materials that could be used for military purposes.

Gaza’s only other goods crossing is at Rafah on the Egyptian border.

That checkpoint had largely been kept closed in recent years, but Egypt opened it in mid-May and it is has mostly remained so since.

AFP

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