Following days of heightened tensions, the occupation announced that it would ease trade restrictions on the Gaza Strip and expand commodities access into the Palestinian territory.
The announcement came after hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated Wednesday near the Israeli border, calling on Israel to ease a crippling blockade days after a similar gathering ended in deadly clashes with the Israeli army.
The protests ended without a repeat of Saturday’s severe clashes. Left one Palestinian dead and an Israeli border police officer critically injured after being shot at point-blank range.
In a statement issued late Wednesday, the defense ministry body in charge of Israel’s crossings with Palestinian territory said “It would increase imports of new vehicles, goods, and equipment for civilian projects in Gaza and issue more permits for Gazan businessmen to enter Israel beginning Thursday.”
The relaxation of limitations would be “conditioned on the continuous protection of the region’s security” and might be increased further if the border situation improves, according to COGAT.
Hamas officially said Egypt would also reopen its borders partially crossing with the Gaza Strip Thursday. After closing it in a bid to persuade Hamas, the Islamic militant group ruling the territory, to reimpose calm.
Egypt has always tried to cease the long-term fire between the two sides since May’s 11-day war that killed around 260 Palestinians and 13 people in Israel.
Since 2007, when Hamas seized power in Gaza in an armed takeover after winning Palestinian elections, Israel and Hamas have fought four wars and innumerable skirmishes. Since Hamas gained control, Israel and Egypt have maintained a punishing embargo, which the occupation claims is required to prevent Hamas from rearming.
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