Palestinian boys stand by a fence at the Erez Crossing, October 2017.
(photo credit: MOHAMMED SALEM/ REUTERS)
Israel on Sunday morning closed the Erez Crossing into Gaza in response to Friday’s violent border riots.
Since July Israel has linked the routine operation of its two crossings into Gaza with the cessation of Palestinian violence in the Strip.
Israel’s maintains a military blockade on Gaza that prevents air or sea traffic, so that the only access to Gaza is by land through three crossings, two of which are under Israeli control. There is a commercial crossing at Kerem Shalom and a pedestrian one at Erez. There is also a pedestrian crossing between Egypt and Gaza, that is also used for limited commercial traffic.
From July 10 to August 15 Israel banned the entry of commercial goods into Gaza at the Kerem Shalom Crossing. From July 17 to that date, the entry of fuel and gas was also largely banned.
Israel lets food, goods back into Gaza as Egypt pushes truce, August 15, 2018 (Reuters)
The re-opening of Erez was conditioned on an understanding that Hamas would halt it fire of rockets and incendiary devices against Israel.
It has largely held to that understanding, but did allow for violent riots. As a result, Israel closed the Erez Crossing to all but humanitarian cases, such as trips for medical treatment in Israel.
According to the United Nations some 12,500 people left Gaza for Israel through the Erez crossing in July, with 5,875 leaving through Rafah into Egypt. To date this year, some 64,000 people have left using Erez.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has been blunt about his belief that the best resolution to the Gaza crisis is for the Palestinians in Gaza to overthrow Hamas.
The Erez closure comes as the United Nations and Egypt are hoping to broker a long term truce between Israel and Hamas.
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