Israel Closes Gaza Crossing After Violent Protests Near Border

The Erez crossing is used for movement from the Strip into Israel and the West Bank ■ Israeli army says closing is maintenance work over damages caused in demonstrations, will allow entry for humanitarian cases

A Palestinian protester steps on American, British and Israeli flags during a protest near the Erez crossing, Israel-Gaza border, September 4, 2018.

Israel closed the Erez crossing on the Israel-Gaza border on Wednesday, with the exception of pressing humanitarian cases, following violent protests at the crossing on Tuesday, the Israeli army Spokesperson's Unit said.

The Erez crossing, situated along the northern part of the Strip, is used for the movement of people between the Strip and Israel.

According to the statement, the crossing is closed in order to perform maintenance work for damages incurred on the Palestinian side during the demonstrations. Humanitarian cases will be approved for entry on a case-by-case basis.

Maher Abu Alouf, who manages the Palestinian side of the crossing, confirmed the decision. Alouf also cited the protests in the crossing on Tuesday as the reason for the closing.

In August, Israel closed the Erez crossing due to clashes along the border fence during the March of Return protests.

On Tuesday, Hamas’ leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, said that “at present there’s no agreement or draft agreement with Israel” on a cease-fire but added that Hamas had lowered the temperature during protests near the border fence to allow for further contacts between the sides and the lifting of the Gaza blockade.

Last week Sinwar said a cease-fire agreement with Israel was possible even without a reconciliation between Hamas and the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority; he said Egypt had expressed a willingness for such a scenario.