Gaza crossing to open after rocket prompts closure

Hadash MK calls on defense minister to refrain from implementing acts of collective punishment in response to fire from Gaza.

Vehicle Kerem Shalom (R370)  (photo credit: Amir Cohen/Reuters)
Vehicle Kerem Shalom (R370)
(photo credit: Amir Cohen/Reuters)
Israel was scheduled to reopen the Kerem Shalom crossing used to transfer goods between Israel and Gaza on Monday after it was closed last week when a rocket was fired from the coastal territory into southern Israel.
The decision to reopen the Kerem Shalom crossing was made Sunday following consultations on the security situation. The Erez crossing – which is used for people to cross the border – was set to remain partially closed.
The announcement came after MK Dov Henin (Hadash) appealed on Sunday to outgoing Defense Minister Ehud Barak to reopen the crossings. Henin urged Barak to stop any act of collective punishment on the Strip.
In a letter to Barak, Henin wrote: “The recent steps are not derived from concrete security needs but indicate a new policy in managing the issues with Gaza, which constitute measures of collective punishment to the local population, which contradicts Defense Ministry statements about the need to distinguish between the civilian population and Gazan terrorists.”
Henin stressed that this type of punishment is forbidden under international law and “if this is indeed a new policy, then it is a dangerous policy that has already proven to be ineffective in the past.”
He urged the ministry to return to its previous policy and warned that changes to it can only cause harm and create a fertile ground for escalation between the two sides.
The Defense Ministry had said earlier on Sunday that the crossings would remain closed, due to gunfire from Gaza on Saturday and riots in the area on Friday. The IDF Spokesman’s Office said Palestinians rioted near the border fence with Israel on Friday, firing guns in the direction of soldiers and throwing stones and firebombs.