Kerem Shalom Border Crossing

Israel approves steps to ease Gaza Strip blockade

IDF liaison to Palestinians says government approved expanding enclave's fishing zone, opening border crossing, increasing water supply, and increasing number of Gazan merchants allowed into Israel

News agencies |
Published: 09.01.21, 11:34
Israel on Wednesday approved a series of measures easing its blockade of the Gaza Strip, including opening the main commercial crossing with the Palestinian enclave to imports.
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  • The announcement came a day after Israeli officials allowed the import of crucial construction material needed for the Gaza Strip's rebuilding following the recent conflict in May. Tensions have run high in recent weeks as Hamas activists have launched incendiary balloons into Israel, sparking a number of wildfires across the border, and staged a series of sometimes violent demonstrations along the border fence with Israel.
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    משאיות במעבר כרם שלום
    משאיות במעבר כרם שלום
    Kerem Shalom Border Crossing
    (Photo: AP)
    COGAT, the Israeli defense body responsible for Palestinian civilian affairs, said in a statement that the government approved expanding the Gaza Strip's fishing zone, opening the Kerem Shalom Crossing, increasing water supply to the territory, and increasing the number of Gazan merchants allowed to enter Israel.
    It said these steps were "conditional upon the continued preservation of the region's security stability for the long term."
    An Israeli soldier who was shot by a protester on Aug. 21 died of his wounds on Monday. Two Palestinians, including a 12-year-old boy and a Hamas militant, have also been killed from Israeli gunfire during recent protests along the border.
    Israel and Egypt have blockaded the Gaza Strip since Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007, a year after winning a Palestinian election. Israel says the blockade is needed to keep Hamas, an Islamic militant group sworn to Israel's destruction, from rearming, while critics say the closure amounts to collective punishment. The blockade, which restricts the movement of goods and people in and out of Gaza, has devastated Gaza's economy.
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    מתפרעים ברצועת עזה
    מתפרעים ברצועת עזה
    Palestinian rioter burning tires along Gaza-Israel border
    (Photo: AFP)
    Israel and Hamas have fought four wars since 2008, and Israel has tightened the blockade since the latest fighting in May.
    Meanwhile, Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian in the West Bank overnight, the Palestinian health ministry said on Wednesday.
    Residents said there were no disturbances or clashes in the area at the time of the shooting, which occurred near the village of Beit Ur Al-Tahta, west of the city of Ramallah.
    The man was returning from work in Israel when he was shot, they said.
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    המחבל שדרס את הלוחם שאדי איברהים
    המחבל שדרס את הלוחם שאדי איברהים
    Israeli troops outside the West Bank city of Hebron
    The residents identified the deceased as a 39-year-old man who lives in the village but carries Jerusalem ID papers, allowing him to cross freely between Israel and the West Bank.
    The Palestinian health ministry did not provide further details. The Israeli military said it was looking into the incident.
    The West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, areas where Palestinians hope to create an independent state, were captured by Israel from Jordan and Egypt in the 1967 Six-Day War. Violence has broken out often since U.S.-sponsored peace talks broke down in 2014.
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