UN Secretary-General welcomes reopening of Gaza crossings

Remigio Civitarese
Agosto 19, 2018

Argaman reportedly told cabinet that cutting Abbas out of the loop "would also weaken the (Palestinian) moderates and prove to the Palestinians that only through violence do they achieve success against Israel".

Cairo said it was finalising the details of a longer-term accommodation between Israel and the dominant Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.

"It ‎‎is in light of these understandings that the Kerem ‎‎Shalom crossing was opened and the Palestinian ‎‎fishing zone was expanded", continued the official.

Abbas Kamal, a senior Egyptian intelligence official, visited Tel Aviv yesterday and is slated to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the situation in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, London-based Al-Hayat newspaper reported.

On Thursday, Israel responded to some 180 rockets and mortars fired from Gaza with widespread air strikes.

Hamas, which has governed the blockaded Gaza Strip since 2007, along with Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), have all boycotted the meeting.

The Oslo interim peace accords in the early 1990s set a 20 nautical mile limit, which was never implemented.

A Palestinian official in Gaza familiar with the talks said Palestinian factions were demanding a "total lifting of the blockade on Gaza, opening all crossings with Israel and Egypt and a water corridor".

On July 9, Israeli authorities closed the crossing to most deliveries, partly in response to kites and balloons being flown across the border carrying firebombs to burn Israeli farmland, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.

Food and medicines have been allowed through, but fuel and cooking gas had been intermittently blocked, including since August 2.

United Nations officials have repeatedly called for the blockade to be lifted, citing deteriorating humanitarian conditions in the enclave of two million people.

Gaza Health Ministry said that at least 12 Palestinians were injured, including six by live gunshots.

The alleged visit followed a day of large-scale protests on 14 May in the besieged Gaza Strip against the opening of the USA embassy in Jerusalem, during which Israeli forces killed at least 65 Palestinians.

One of the core issues under discussion is the future release of captive Israeli civilians and the remains of fallen soldiers in exchange for several humanitarian projects in Gaza, the report said. Their efforts at agreeing on a power-sharing unity deal with Egyptian mediation have not borne fruit.

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