Lieberman to permit entry from Gaza into Israel if quiet maintained
Defense Minister says that he is not ruling out issuing Israeli work permits to Gaza residents after nearly a decade since they were all cancelled following Hamas' rise to power; 'Israel wants to reduce humanitarian pressure but not risk security.'
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Tuesday that if quiet is maintained on the Gaza border, “I will not oppose renewing the practice of issuing permits to workers to enter Israel from the Strip.”
Lieberman’s comments came during a conversation with local council leaders around the Gaza region who support the opening of the Erez Crossing for commerce in order to reduce truck traffic on Route 232 to Kerem Shalom. They also support the issuing of entry permits to workers from Gaza who would be able to assist in industrial areas in their field.
Since Hamas rose to power in 2007, all work permits in Israel were immediately cancelled for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. “Israel is interested in reducing, as much as possible, the humanitarian pressure cooker in the Strip, but not at the price of security risks,” Lieberman added.
This is not the first time Lieberman has signalled that peaceful conduct would yield positive results. In August, he revealed his ‘carrot and stick’ plan vis-à-vis the Palestinian population before a group of journalists at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv in an attempt to quell the wave of terror that had recently plagued Israel. According to his strategy, Palestinian villages which did not produce terrorists would be rewarded in various ways.
During Lieberman’s talks with the council leaders, they raised a series of security-related subjects, among them the advancement of the project for countering terror tunnels into Israel.
Shortly after, Lieberman’s comments on Tuesday, Prime Minister Netanyahu, visiting Holland, spoke about the development in Gaza and said that the Dutch government would help Israel to improve the supply of water and electricity to the residents of Gaza. Netanyahu added that he had decided to “improve the supply of energy and water, and to lay a gas pipeline.”