Israel Accuses Hamas of Keeping Gaza Crossing Shut

The Kerem Shalom border crossing between Israel and Gaza has been closed since Thursday, despite Israel's decision to reopen on Sunday; Israeli officials say Hamas trying to wrest control of Palestinian side from the PA.

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail

Israel decided to reopen the Kerem Shalom crossing with the Gaza Strip on Monday, but as 65 trucks pulled up to the Israeli side of the border, the Palestinian contractor who runs the other side was nowhere to be found.

According to a security official, Hamas instructed the contractor that his services would no longer be needed and that it planned to "take over" management of the crossing.

The Kerem Shalom border crossing has been closed since last Thursday. Israel's defense establishment closed it after a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip exploded south of Ashkelon and decided to keep it closed after another incident last Friday, in which a bullet struck the windshield of a jeep belonging to Col. Ofer Winter, the commander of the northern brigade in the Gaza Strip.

Maj. Gen. Eitan Dangot, coordinator of government activities in the territories, on Monday spoke with high-ranking Palestinian Authority officials to brief them on what was happening at the Kerem Shalom crossing. Replacing the contractor on the Gaza side violates the security status quo that has allowed the Kerem Shalom border crossing to operate, according to officials coordinating government activities in the territories.

Sources at the border crossing said that the company meant to accept goods on the Palestinian side, which used to be run by a Fatah contractor, is now affiliated with Hamas. Defense establishment officials are considering how to proceed if Hamas officials take charge of the Palestinian side of the crossing. For now, they say, the crossing remains closed and goods are not being transferred to the Palestinian side.

The contractor’s failure to show up stems from Hamas' attempts to replace the Palestinian Authority's franchisee with one of their own, in an attempt to gain control of operations at the crossing and increase its profits over than those of the PA, said a spokesman for the coordinator of government activities in the territories.

"This decision by Hamas violates the security status quo and threatens the continued operation of the crossing, as well as the security arrangements," the spokesperson said.

In his conversation with the PA officials this morning, Dangot said Israel would be willing to transfer the 65 truckloads of goods to Gaza if the Palestinian Authority contractor returned to work.

Palestinians walk past trucks loaded with gravel at the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and the southern Gaza Strip, December 30, 2012Credit: Reuters
A member of Hamas security forces checks a truck loaded with gravel at the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and the southern Gaza Strip, December 30, 2012.Credit: Reuters

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Prime Minister Yair Lapid, this month.

Lapid to Haaretz: ‘I Have Learned to Respect the Left’

“Dubi,” whose full name is secret in keeping with instructions from the Mossad.

The Mossad’s Fateful 48 Hours Before the Yom Kippur War

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer