ISRAELI TRUCKS head into the Kerem Shalom crossing point yesterday with goods bound for the Gaza Strip.
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
A record volume of imports is expected to enter Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing in 2015, about 140,000 truckloads.
This will be about double the 70,000 truckloads that made their way via Kerem Shalom, the main entry point for cargo into the Gaza Strip, in 2014, before and after Operation Protective Edge, the Crossings Authority in the Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.
This year is expected to see an average of 600-650 trucks pass through the border point each working day.
Egypt has cracked down on smuggling from Sinai to Gaza and has kept its Rafah crossing to the Strip closed most of the time, increasing demand for goods in the Palestinian territory.
So far this year, inspectors at Kerem Shalom have thwarted 250 attempts to smuggle contraband materials into Gaza, equaling the number for all of 2014. Israel imposed a blockade on the Strip after Hamas seized control there in 2007, to prevent the entry of materials that could be used to build rockets or attack tunnels.
Recently the security forces foiled the import of more than 13 tons of fuel additive, intended to be used for the production of rockets by Hamas, tens of thousands of industrial goods meant to strengthen Hamas’s military capability. Some of the contraband was hidden in slabs of marble, automotive parts, ceramic products and boxes of fruit.
Brig.-Gen. (res.) Kamil Abu Rokon, head of the Crossings Authority, said, “As part of the defense minister’s policies regarding the Gaza Strip, the Crossings Authority is now preparing for an increase in the rate of goods passing through the Kerem Shalom crossing, up to some 1,000 trucks a day. Almost every month we ‘break’ the record achieved in the previous month. Along with this, we will continue to fight, using all the resources at our disposal, those who are trying to smuggle contraband into Gaza to support terrorist elements.”