Avigdor Liberman at the Kerem Shalom Crossing, July 22, 2018.
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman has ordered the re-opening of the Kerem Shalom and Erez Crossings into Gaza following a decrease in violence, his office announced on Sunday morning.
A decision to continue the supply of Qatari fuel will be re-examined in a few days, according to events on the ground, his office added.
The crossings were closed last week following high-trajectory rockets fired toward Israel, with one landing in the sea south of Tel Aviv and another directly impacting a residential home in Beersheba.
Liberman also ordered the reduction of the Gazan fishing zone to three nautical miles, down from six.
The Qatari-bought fuel
was stopped in mid-October following heavy rioting along the security fence, including a serious infiltration by a group of 20 Palestinians who approached an IDF sniper position and led troops to open fire and kill several of them.
Qatari-bought fuel had been entering the Gaza Strip in an attempt to alleviate the conditions in the blockaded coastal enclave by powering Gaza’s sole power station. Israel had facilitated the delivery of hundreds of liters of fuel, hoping it would stem the weekly border clashes.
According to Liberman’s office, four Israeli diesel tankers had entered the Gaza Strip shortly before the violent riots began along the border fence.
The weekend events were expected to have a significant impact on whether Israel would launch a military operation in Gaza. But according to the military, the demonstrations along the fence this past Friday were the calmest in months. The IDF noted that in several places Hamas forces had restrained protesters and distanced them from the security fence.
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Palestinian Islamic Jihad also called on Gazans to demonstrate in a non-violent manner.
“The most important message tomorrow is the masses gathering in a peaceful manner,” Khaled al-Batsh, a senior leader of the group, wrote in a statement on Thursday evening. “The March of Return is continuing until its goals are attained, with an emphasis on the importance of holding marches that will be non-violent and led by the people.”
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