'Gaza crossing changes good for security and Gaza imports'

COGAT Dangot discusses transfer of traffic from Karni crossing to Kerem Shalom.

Eitan Dangot 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Eitan Dangot 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The recent transfer of traffic at the Karni border crossing to the nearby Kerem Shalom Crossing will enable greater security for Israeli personnel and allow the Gaza Strip to import more materials more efficiently than before, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said Tuesday.
Maj.-Gen. Eitan Dangot told reporters at a press briefing at the Erez crossing on Tuesday that “when there is a terror regime there [in Gaza] and they are preparing themselves to attack Israel, each time we open Karni twice a week, we would deploy thousands of soldiers to secure the lives of people on our side. As a result of these security threats, we had to move the operations to Kerem Shalom.”
Dangot added that Karni “is a very popular target of Hamas, which is supposed to take care of the lives of 1.5 million people in Gaza and decides to blow up the main economic and support line for them.”
Last week, the media began reporting that the Karni Crossing, located near Nahal Oz, was closing. In response, COGAT spokesman Maj. Guy Inbar said the crossing had already been closed for the last two years and had only operated two days a week since as a transit point for products entering and exiting the Strip. The only difference now, he said, was that this traffic was finally moving officially to the southern Gaza crossing of Kerem Shalom, on the border with Egypt.
NGOs reacted to the report by saying the move would further aggravate Gazans’ ability to receive imports.
When asked during Tuesday’s briefing whether the recent upheaval in Egypt had changed Israel’s policy regarding Gaza Strip imports and exports, Dangot said, “I don’t know about changes made in Egyptian policy on supplies to Gaza; we are still operating on the same channels of communication there.”
Dangot was also asked how prepared he believed the Palestinian infrastructure in the West Bank was for statehood. He replied that while he couldn’t give a political answer, “it depends on their leaders and their authorities. We will do the best in order to help them to continue to build a comfortable life and better economic life, but it’s not my duty to make any assessment of the political level.”
In regard to fighting terror and joint Israel-PA security arrangements, Dangot said Israel and the PA were working together to improve life in these areas, and that “when people in Gaza look at the West Bank, they have to think about who is leading them and where is it bringing them.”