Expansion work begins on Gaza side of Kerem Shalom crossing

Netanyahu to present Obama with new list of goods banned from entering Strip.

Gaza Truck 311 (photo credit: Yaakov Lappin)
Gaza Truck 311
(photo credit: Yaakov Lappin)
Renovation work on the Gaza side of the Kerem Shalom crossing began late Sunday night, ahead of Israeli plans to gradually increase the number of trucks passing through it to 250 a day.
The Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) noted a 60 percent increase in the number of trucks allowed into Gaza since the cabinet’s decision to loosen the blockade on the Strip.
Last week, more than 800 trucks entered Gaza through Kerem Shalom, up from 500 the week before. Defense officials said they planned to reach 250 trucks day in the coming months, once the work at the crossing was completed.
“Our ultimate goal is to reach about 1,500 trucks a week,” a defense official said.
Last week, The Jerusalem Post reported that COGAT and the Palestinian Authority had established a joint Israeli-Palestinian team to coordinate work the renovation of the Kerem Shalom crossing and future international construction projects in the Gaza Strip.
The work at Kerem Shalom will include the construction of infrastructure that could be used one day by the PA if it were to receive control of the crossing from Israel, and to facilitate the increase in trucks to 250 a day.
COGAT is also to finish compiling its new list of items forbidden from entering the Gaza Strip, which was started following the cabinet’s decision to ease the blockade. Anything that is not on the list will be allowed into Gaza.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is expected to present US President Barack Obama with the list during their meeting at the White House on Tuesday.