Tel Aviv – Israel has opened its pedestrian crossing to the Gaza Strip after shutting it about a week ago in response to violence along the border.
The opening of the Erez crossing on Monday comes “in light of the calm security situation that has been maintained for the past week, as well as the significant decline in security incidents,’’ according to a Defence Ministry statement.
There are three crossings to the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian territory that has been under an Israeli blockade for the last decade.
Besides Erez, there is the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing which is used for goods, and the Rafah crossing which is controlled by Egypt.
Clashes between Palestinians in Gaza and Israeli troops led to the shutting of Erez about a week ago.
Gaza has experienced months of unrest on the border with Israel, including protests that have led to the deaths of about 170 Palestinians from Israeli gunfire. One Israeli soldier has been killed.
Israel says the protesters from Gaza, controlled by the militant Hamas movement, are trying to infiltrate Israel.
The protesters are demanding an end to the blockade and the right to return to their former family homes in Israel. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled in a conflict over the establishment of State of Israel in 1948.
Egypt is currently acting as a mediator in talks between Hamas and the Israelis in order to find a peaceful solution to the current violence in Gaza. (dpa/NAN)