Israel to Reopen Gaza Border Crossing Sunday Following 11-day Closure

Due to information on Hamas-led incitement related to recent terror attacks in Israel, the closure was extended beyond its initial expected opening

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Palestinian workers enter Israel after crossing from Gaza at the Erez crossing, March.
Palestinian workers enter Israel after crossing from Gaza at the Erez crossing, March. Credit: Oded Balilty /AP
Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich

Israel will reopen its border with the Gaza Strip on Sunday and allow the entry of workers and all Palestinians who hold entry permits, the Israeli army said Saturday.  

The Erez crossing, which closed since May 3, as well as all border crossing into the West Bank were shut ahead of Israel's memorial day and Independence Day celebrations. The closure on the West Bank was lifted earlier this week, following an extension due to the terror attack in the Israeli city of Elad on Independence Day.

The reopening of the Erez crossing was postponed due to information obtained by the security establishment that Hamas leader, Yahya Sinwar, had been leading a campaign of incitement related to the wave of terror attacks in Israel over the last two months. 

Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar said in a tweet on Saturday that "The renewed entry of workers from Gaza into Israel is neither just nor right."  In his tweet, Sa'ar also addressed Hamas and Sinwar, whom he said "engages in incessant incitement and terror," and must be put in their place. 

Sinwar addressed recent threats to assassinate him on Saturday, and said he was not in hiding and would be willing to go on air live.

"I don't care what others think, and I don't worry; they [Israel] only know how to generate noise."

Referring to the conduct of policemen at the funeral of Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Jerusalem, saying that she had been killed twice. “The first was when they shot her, the second was when they tried to prevent a funeral she deserved, acting aggressively to her coffin. These are crimes with no statute of limitations,” he said.

Sinwar also linked Abu Akleh’s killing to previous incidents in which journalists were harmed. He said those responsible for the bombing of the Al Jazeera headquarters in Gaza as well as for the breaking of an Al Jazeera correspondent's hand in Sheikh Jarrah clashes are the same people responsible for Abu Akleh's death – Israel. Sinwar called for an immediate intervention to punish Israel for its crimes. 

Hamas spokesman Hazem Kassem has called on Palestinians in Jerusalem and within the Green Line to show up at the Temple Mount on Sunday, Nakba Day – the day Palestinians commemorate the loss of their homeland in the conflict surrounding the birth of the modern Jewish state – amidst a backdrop of calls for Jews to visit the compound. According to Kassem, this constitutes a dangerous provocation and an insult to the feelings of Palestinians as well as the Muslim community. 

During West Bank and Gaza closures, Palestinians are prohibited from entering Israel except in the case of medical or other emergencies, and only with permission from the office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. 

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