JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israel will reopen its only goods crossing with the Gaza Strip on Tuesday if calm is maintained, the defence minister said, after having closed it July 9 partly over kites carrying firebombs.
“If today and tomorrow the situation continues as it was yesterday, then on Tuesday we will allow Kerem Shalom to return to normal activity and the fishing zones will return to the same distances as before,” Avigdor Lieberman told journalists on Sunday, referring to the name of the crossing.
However, Lieberman stressed that calm also meant an end to months of kites and balloons carrying firebombs over the border fence from the Palestinian enclave run by Islamist movement Hamas to burn Israeli farmland.
Israeli authorities say hundreds of fires have been started by the firebombs since April.
Lieberman’s comments came after a ceasefire was reached following a major flare-up of violence between Palestinian militants in Gaza and Israel on Friday.
The escalation — the second in as many weeks — followed months of tension that have raised fears that a fourth war since 2008 could erupt between Hamas and Israel.
Israel announced on July 9 that the goods crossing was being closed to most deliveries partly in response to the firebombs and other incidents along the border fence.
On July 17, it further tightened the restrictions to also prevent fuel deliveries while reducing the fishing zone Israel enforces off Gaza to three nautical miles from six.
The crossing has remained open for food and medicine on a case-by-case basis.