Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (R) is briefed about the security situation near Gaza, July 29, 2018.
(photo credit: ARIEL HERMONI / DEFENSE MINISTRY)
Israel could reopen the Kerem Shalom crossing if the sudden calm in hostilities between Hamas and Israel holds until Tuesday, a senior Israeli defense source said on Monday.
This would include lifting the ban on commercial goods, fuel and gas which Israel imposed last month to protest the Gaza rockets and the Palestinian incendiary devices which burned thousands of acres of Israeli forests and fields.
Liberman plans to hold consultations with senior members of the IDF and the Defense establishment at noon on Tuesday to assess the situation before making a final decision.
“The defense establishment wants to examine whether the quiet that has been maintained since yesterday [Sunday] is a signal from the other side. If it holds that this is indeed a trend that would continue, Israel would consider further easing in the coming days,” the defense source said.
Israel wants to show “the Gaza Strip that it has something to gain from quiet and something to lose from the terror [activities with regard to the] incendiary kites and along the [border] fence,” the source added.
Liberman had weighed a similar decision in July, after a short period of calm. He temporarily lifted the ban on gas and fuel, but then reimposed it after another round of violence.
The intention to reopen Kerem Shalom, Gaza’s main commercial crossing, is one of the first concrete signs that a formal understanding might be in the works between Israel and Hamas to end the violence that began on March 30.
Such a restoration of calm would be a necessary first step toward a larger cease fire understanding. The security cabinet met three times in the past nine days, to discuss such a cease fire that would be brokered by the United Nations and Egypt.
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