Israel to Reopen Gaza Crossings, Expand Palestinians' Fishing Zone After Two Days of Calm

Coordinator of government activities in the Territories says the restrictions will be lifted on condition that 'security stability is maintained,' after two days of hostilities

Yaniv Kubovich
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People stand at Gaza's Erez crossing, 2019.
People stand at Gaza's Erez crossing, 2019. Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz
Yaniv Kubovich

Israel has announced that it will reopen on Thursday the border crossings into the Gaza Strip that it closed in response to two days of heavy rocket fire that was aimed at the country's south this week. 

Starting Thursday morning, the Erez and the Kerem Shalom crossings will both be open for the movement of people and goods, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Kamil Abu Rukun announced Wednesday. 

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Another sanction that will be lifted is the limitation of the fishing zone in which Gazan fishermen are allowed to work: It will return to 15 nautical miles after it was limited to six during the escalation.

COGAT's announcement came after "a reassessment of the situation," and on condition that "security stability was maintained." With the return of civilian policy towards the Gaza Strip being "contingent upon continued peacekeeping and security stability," said the announcement.

On Tuesday COGAT announced that the Erez Crossing will be shut until further notice. 

Also on Tuesday senior Hamas officials said that Israel will continue implementing economic relief measures reached in cease-fire talks with Palestinian factions in the coastal enclave over the past couple of weeks, despite the recent flare-up.

Israeli interception missiles from the Iron Dome missile defense system, intercepting rockets fired by Palestinian militants over Gaza City, February 23, 2020
Israeli interception missiles from the Iron Dome missile defense system, intercepting rockets fired by Palestinian militants over Gaza City, February 23, 2020 Credit: AFP

“We’re treating this as an isolated incident, despite the difficult sights from Khan Yunis, where a body was dragged by a bulldozer,” one Hamas political official said, referring to an incident Sunday morning during which an Israeli army bulldozer dragged a slain Palestinian militant into Israeli territory.

The restrictions imposed by Israel came as retaliation for the heavy rocket barrages, which stopped early Monday when Islamic Jihad sources in the Strip announced a cease-fire. During the hostilities, at least 50 rockets were launched at Israel; the Iron Dome missile defense system had intercepted most of them.

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