Erez crossing to reopen for workers from Gaza to Israel

The Erez crossing has been closed to traders and workers from the Gaza Strip since Sunday following rocket fire at Israel in recent days.

Erez crossing (photo credit: REUTERS)
Erez crossing
(photo credit: REUTERS)

The Erez crossing will be reopened for the entry of 12,000 workers and traders from the Gaza Strip into Israel, Defense Minister Benny Gantz decided on Monday, at the end of a security assessment.

“We will continue to show civil and economic generosity only if security and stability are maintained,” said Gantz. “Terrorist organizations and instigators of incitement should remember: those whose economic, civilian and military situation is unstable will be severely affected by any upheaval. Israel has the capabilities to respond, and it will continue to use a variety of means at its disposal in a way that it sees fit.”

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said that the opening of the crossing “and the rest of the civilian steps toward the Gaza Strip” are conditional on the continued maintenance of security and stability in the region.

The Erez crossing has been closed since Sunday, following rocket fire at Israel in recent days. Over the weekend, three rockets were fired from Gaza at Israel within 24 hours. On Saturday night, the IDF reported the launch of a rocket.

During the past week, several rockets were fired from Gaza. Two more rockets were fired on Friday evening, and on Wednesday, a rocket was fired that hit a house in Sderot but did not explode.

The IDF and the political echelon explained that the decision to prefer a civilian sanction in response to the double firing over the weekend – into open areas in the Gaza Strip, in the area of Kibbutz Sufa and Kfar Gaza – stemmed from the heavy public significance of the move.

In recent months, thousands of Gazan workers have begun to get used to working in Israel for daily wages of NIS 300-600 a day, as opposed to an average of NIS 60 a day inside Gaza.

Hamas was quick to brag and declare “victory.”

“Whoever asks us for calm must return our stolen rights and stop the attacks on our people and our sanctity,” said senior Hamas member Khalil al-Haya. “The heroism of the Morabiton in al-Aqsa Mosque and the threats of resistance thwarted Israeli plans to make sacrifices in the Aqsa compound and prevented the participants of the flag march from reaching the Nablus Gate.”

Morabiton is a Muslim activist group for men that calls on members to “protect” holy sites and Islamic land from “heretics.” Their aim is to strengthen the Muslim presence on the Temple Mount and to cause disturbances when Jews visit. The corresponding group for women is called the Murabitat.