karni crossing 298 88 ap.
(photo credit: AP [file])
The Kerem Shalom crossing, at the southern tip of the Gaza Strip which connects Israel, Egypt and Gaza, was opened on Wednesday for the first time as an international commercial crossing from Egypt to the Palestinian territories.
From the early hours of Wednesday morning convoys of Egyptian trucks were arriving at the terminal, and were expected to remain at the crossing until Wednesday evening. In total, 50 trucks, mostly loaded with food, were expected to transfer their goods to Palestinian trucks at the terminal.
The Karni crossing was also opened for commercial activity for the second day running, in order to transfer goods to Gaza residents. Eighty trucks were expected to arrive from Israel.
The openings of the two crossings were approved by Israel to alleviate the burgeoning Palestinian humanitarian crisis and followed heavy international pressure placed on Israel.
Salim Abu Safiyyah, head of the PA Terminal and Border Security Department, denounced the Israeli claims that the closures were due to security concerns. "The Karni crossing and all the other crossings were closed for political reasons," claimed Safiyyah. "The Israelis should prove that the crossing was closed following security alerts," he told Army Radio.
The PA believe that Israel's refusal to open up Karni, and its insistence in opening up Kerem Shalom instead, had less to do with security needs and more to do with an interest in getting out of the customs envelope agreement with the PA.
The IDF had obtained intelligence information regarding several terror cells planning attacks at the Karni terminal.