Israel will reopen the main commercial crossing with Gaza, which it closed days ago after claiming that it had found explosives leaving the territory. The closure seriously harmed producers along the coastal strip.
Israeli authorities closed the Kerem Shalom crossing on Monday because, they said, explosives were found in a shipment of clothing headed to the occupied West Bank — one of the main markets for Gaza’s small export sector — and they feared they were destined for militants. territory.
After an investigation and the “necessary adjustments” the crossing can be reopened, Israel said, without going into details about the explosives found.
Fishermen, businessmen and Palestinian rights advocates said the closure was a collective punishment of Gaza’s 2 million people, including tens of thousands of workers who depend on exports to Israel and the West Bank.
Almost all goods entering and leaving Gaza pass through Kerem Shalom.
The problems for Gazan fishermen during the closure were particularly serious. Their surplus merchandise perished before reaching Israeli markets. The main fishermen’s association reported losses of $300,000 due to the closure. Fish made up 6% of Gaza’s exports in July.
While the reopening promises to be a relief for producers throughout the territory, the Gazan economy remains disrupted by a double Egyptian-Israeli blockade since Hamas took control of the territory in 2007. The blockade prevents access to external markets and limits movements into and out of the territory.
Associated Press writer Issam Adwan in the Gaza Strip contributed to this report