Karni to open for two-way goods traffic

Shipments allowed into Israel from Gaza for the first time in 2 months.

karni crossing 298 88 ap (photo credit: AP [file])
karni crossing 298 88 ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
The Karni crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip was scheduled to open Sunday to two-way goods traffic. This is the first time in some two months that goods will be allowed into Israel from Gaza, Army Radio reported. The Kerem Shalom and Sufa crossings were also expected to open. On Friday, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni promised US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that crossings between the Gaza Strip and Israel would remain open for humanitarian aid, as long as Israel's security could be assured, Israel Radio reported. Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said he was not at liberty to discuss the content of the call which Rice placed to Livni, but that Israel's stated policy is to alleviate shortages in the Gaza Strip, where possible. "We've said to foreign governments, including the United States, that we are interested in the maximum possible access in and out of the Gaza Strip and will do everything possible to facilitate the flow of humanitarian supplies, bearing in mind Israel's security concerns," Regev told The Associated Press on Saturday. Last Sunday, the Palestinians agreed to allow the opening of the three-way Kerem Shalom goods crossing, but stipulated that goods would only be able to cross between Israel and Egypt. Israeli defense officials reminded their counterparts that goods crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt could only transfer 20 percent of the cargo that could pass through the Israeli crossing. Officials estimated that the Palestinians thus far rejected the opening of Kerem Shalom due to political considerations, and in an attempt to "hurt Israel." Defense officials expressed restrained optimism with the Palestinians' decision. They said it was only small progress.