Gaza's Kerem Shalom crossing could open at 9 a.m. on Wednesday

The fishing area that had been restricted to three nautical miles will be expanded to nine miles.

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August 14, 2018 17:03
2 minute read.
Avigdor Liberman at the Kerem Shalom Crossing, July 22, 2018

Avigdor Liberman at the Kerem Shalom Crossing, July 22, 2018. (photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)

 
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Israel could lift its stringent ban on the entry of goods, fuel and gas into Gaza at 9 a.m. on Wednesay, if Hamas continues to refrain from violence against Israel.

Defense Minster Avigdor Liberman had weighed opening Gaza’s main commercial crossing to those items already on Tuesday, but after four hours of consultations agreed to hold for one more day.

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He spoke with IDF Chief of Staff, the head of the National Security Council and a representative of the Shin Bet.

During that conversation Liberman clarified that he wanted to send a message to the two million Palestinians that live in Gaza that peace is in their best interest.

Liberman had closed the Kerem Shalon crossing to commercial goods on July 10 and shut down the entry of fuel and gas on July 17. He reported the crossing briefly for fuel and gas at the end of the month, but then closed it again on August 1, as the violence continued.

The fishing area that had been restricted to three nautical miles will be expanded to nine miles.

The opening of the crossing is seen as a sign of an informal agreement with Hamas to halt the violence against Israel that began on March 30. It is also a necessary building bloc to the larger formal cease fire that Egypt and the United Nations are hoping brokering.

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The proposed opening came as the United Nations, Egypt and Hamas were reportedly working on a long-term deal for Gaza's future.

Channel 10 cited an Al Quds newspaper report, which cited anonymous sources reporting the sides, including UN Special Envoy for the Middle East Process Nickolay Mladenov, have agreed to an almost final agreement on Gaza, which will likely need a few minor changes and take several years to implement.

Meanwhile, the security cabinet is scheduled to meet again on Wednesday morning to discuss the situation in the Gaza Strip. This will be the fourth meeting of the security cabinet on this issue in the last 10 days

No operative decisions were publicized following each of the previous meetings.

Before the meeting on August 5, Intelligence Minister Israel Katz posted on Twitter that “the situation in Gaza is nearing a decision, either an arrangement or war” – a characterization that still holds true 10 days later.

Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

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