Thursday, October 29, 2020

Israel closes Gaza’s Erez crossing for Eid

By Myriam Purtscher - August 21, 2018
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Erez checkpoint] [Gaza Blockade]

Ahead of the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, Israel has closed the Erez Crossing - it’s only crossing for people - with Gaza preventing many from leaving the strip for the holiday celebrations.

According to a statement by Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman the closure was due to "violent incidents on the border last Friday.”
The clashes saw two Palestinians killed by Israeli gunfire as they gathered for weekly protests against the Israeli blockade.
During the Eid holiday period, the Erez Crossing sees an increase in flow of people between the blockaded Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
According to Middle East Eye Israeli officials did not confirm how long the closure would last, but they would allow for medical cases only to cross.
The closure comes days after the news that Israel reopened their goods crossing at Karam Abu Salem, allowing in vital supplies and fuel to the Gaza Strip after a month blockade.
Israel sealed off the supply border on July 10 in retaliation to Palestinians destroying Israeli land with incendiary kites in protest.
However, according to Haaretz Lieberman announced last week if “calm” was maintained, the border would open, further stating “maintaining the quiet is first and foremost in the interest of Gaza residents.”
According to Israel's government flaming objects have caused $2.5m in damage to farmland.
The Israeli government also announced as part of 'lifting of the siege’ they will expand Gaza’s fishing zone from three nautical miles to nine, a move which had severe implications on Gaza’s economy which is heavily reliant on the fishing industry.
Although the fishing area has been widened, Israel has never implemented their obligations under the Oslo Accords to allow a 20 nautical mile fishing zone, directly affecting 4,000 registered fishermen, who are the breadwinners for approximately 50,000 Gazan’s.
Peace talks threatened 
The reopening of the Karam Abu Salem crossing came after a UN-brokered ceasefire between Hamas - the group governing Gaza - and Israel to allow for humanitarian issues to be properly addressed in the besieged enclave of two million people.
The ceasefire comes after Israel launched 140 attacks on the Strip that killed three Palestinians, including a pregnant woman and her 18-month-old child, in Gaza last week.
Israel’s rocket fire was in retaliation to Gaza militants firing 150 rockets into Israel.
However, the closing of the Erez passage has put further pressure on Israel and Hamas negotiations, especially after Egypt also announced last week they are closing their only pedestrian crossing with Gaza from Monday through Saturday due to the Eid holiday.
In an exclusive, Hamas officials told Middle East Eye last week these truce talks may involve Israel allowing a sea passage between Gaza and Cyprus, as well as opening all the crossings into the enclave, in exchange for Gaza ceasing attacks on Israel.
If brokered, this deal would serve as an enormous relief to Gaza, however the Fatah Party - which largely controls Palestinian areas in the West Bank - believes this deal will break Palestinian unity.

Palestinian Authority President
Mahmoud Abbas said on August 16 he opposes any truce between Hamas and Israel that doesn’t see international aid to Gaza managed by the Palestinian Authority.

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