Despite Terror Warnings, Israel to Open Karni

Aluf Benn
Aluf Benn
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Aluf Benn
Aluf Benn

Under American pressure, Israel agreed over the weekend to reopen the Karni crossing today to goods traffic into and out of the Gaza Strip.

Rice has been showing great interest in the smooth running of the crossings between Israel, the Gaza Strip and Egypt, having brokered the "crossings agreement" in November 2005.

Last Thursday, the assistant administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development in the region, James Kunder, visited the area to assess the situation ahead of the Palestinian Authority's new Hamas government assuming its duties.

Livni told Rice that Israel would make every effort to reopen the crossings, barring security contingencies, and will act to prevent a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. She stated that Israel would not maintain any contact with the Hamas government.

Mofaz presented the steps Israel will take:

* Karni crossing, the primary channel for transporting goods into and out of the Gaza Strip, will reopen today in both directions. The crossing was shut down by Israel because of reported security alerts, but was partially reopened last week, after American intervention, to goods entering Gaza. According to UN data, the goods that have entered the Strip included staples such as wheat, flour, oil and milk products; disposable diapers; beef and fruit. Palestinian farmers lost millions of dollars on export goods they could not get out.

* Kerem Shalom crossing, where the borders of Israel, Egypt and the Gaza Strip meet, will remain open to goods entering Gaza. Mofaz told Rice that the Palestinians "are refusing to transfer goods through Kerem Shalom, out of irrelevant considerations." According to UN data, only six trucks passed through the crossing last week, laden with flour and humanitarian aid.

* Mofaz also ordered the Sufa crossing reopened.

In his conversation with Rice, Mofaz complained about security lapses at the Rafah crossing, which is managed by the Palestinians under European supervision. They also discussed the implications of the upcoming swearing in of the Hamas government, expected to take place on Wednesday. Mofaz warned that "the reality will be much more complicated" if Hamas does not disavow terrorism, recognize Israel, nullify its covenant and honor signed agreements with Israel.



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