Photo: Roee Idan
Erez Crossing
Photo: Roee Idan

Israel shuts Erez Crossing amid delay in ceasefire talks

In largely symbolic decision taken on Saturday night, Israel to open crossing only on humanitarian grounds as deal to end hostilities between Hamas and Israel stall following staging of violent protests on Gaza border, prompting IDF to use lethal live rounds.

Israel partially closed the Erez border crossing in the Gaza Strip on Sunday morning in response to violent demonstrations staged by the residents over the weekend, and following a delay in the reaching of an expected ceasefire agreement with Hamas.



Israel made the decision to close the crossing located on the northern tip of the Gaza Strip in retaliation for a weekly March of Return demonstration on Friday afternoon that descended into violence on the border, during which the rioters threw Molotov Cocktails, improvised bombs and in which two Palestinians were killed.


Erez Crossing (Photo: Roee Idan)
Erez Crossing (Photo: Roee Idan)

While Israel’s decision will see the crossing closed, it will be reopened at times on humanitarian grounds.


The closure is a symbolic move by Jerusalem since the Erez Crossing is used by few Palestinians. Those who do use the crossing do so with official authorization on humanitarian grounds, mainly belonging to aid organizations.


On Saturday night, Palestinian media outlets also reported on the partial closure against a background of stalled talks in the ceasefire arrangements.


Gaza border riots (Photo: AFP)
Gaza border riots (Photo: AFP)


Officials from Hamas who participated in the ceasefire talks discussed the matter with senior Egyptian diplomats, who have been working to broker a deal to put an end to months of almost daily violence on the Gaza border, which has threatened to thrust Gaza and Israel into yet another war.


While the round of talks between Palestinian faction officials concluded on calming tensions with Israel and on implementing a reconciliation deal signed between Hamas and Fatah at the end of last year, disagreements remained on the former issue at the end of the week.


Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated near the border fence on Friday, which resulted in the killing of two Palestinians by IDF live fire.


Despite the relative calm that had prevailed over the past few days, the rioters gathered at the border and, in addition to throwing Molotov Cocktails and improvised bombs, also launched incendiary balloons, setting fires nearby, with one erupting in the Beeri Forest.


An Israeli source confirmed Thursday that Egyptian Intelligence Chief Abbas Kamel visited Israel as the guest of the head of the National Security Council, Meir Ben Shabbat, and met with Netanyahu and Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman.


Palestinian sources told Al-Hayat that Kamel discussed the final details of the arrangement with the Israeli side, including the completion of humanitarian projects in the Gaza Strip and future negotiations with Hamas over the exchange of prisoners and captives.


Abbas Kamel
Abbas Kamel


Meanwhile, Hamas officials have been meeting with Egyptian officials in Cairo, hammering out details of a possible truce with Israel.


Kamel visited Israel after two delegations of senior Hamas and Islamic Jihad figures attended the talks in Cairo in recent weeks. In addition, a Hamas delegation headed by Hamas deputy leader in the Gaza Strip, Khalil al-Hayya, headed to Cairo Thursday.


Almost all Palestinian factions sent representatives to the Egyptian capital, except for Fatah, whose members are still boycotting the talks.


פרסום ראשון: 08.19.18, 08:20
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